Who needs defense when your senior center scores 32 points and the team makes over 58% of their three pointers?
The headline of today's game was AJ Hammons, who tallied 32 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks. What's even better is that Hammons wasn't just throwing the ball up there and by chance scored 32 points, or was fouled a bunch and got most of his points from free throws. Hammons attempted 17 shots, and made 14 of them.
A.J. Hammons scored a career-high 32 points in Purdue's win, missing only 3 shots. pic.twitter.com/gSopmCPdMq— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 30, 2016
At least he didn't lose his shoe this time.
It was an overall good performance from Purdue, who kept a red-hot Nebraska team at bay. Here are my other quick takes from today's game:
- I think I need to mention AJ Hammons again. To not bring him up again would be a crime. Some cons from Hammons' game were [the rest of this sentence was blocked by AJ Hammons].
- Haas and Biggie had great games to compliment Hammons and give Nebraska hell when AJ was on the bench. Haas had 13 points (5/6 FGs, 3/3 FTs), while Swanigan finished with 6 points (2/5 FGs, 2/2 FTs), and had 12 rebounds.
- Rapheal Davis was the 'silent' assassin in tonight's game, finishing with 17 points, 12 of them coming off four 3-pointers. On Davis' penultimate made 3 pointer, I saw Shavon Shields just throw his hands up in the air in defeat. It was obvious no one was stopping the captain tonight.
- PJ Thompson has quickly risen to be this team's leading point guard. Though the sophomore only had 6 points, he contributed 7 assists and no turnovers. While he, and the rest of the team, seems to freeze up against the press, he's slowing learning to push back after the Iowa game. There's still some room to grow (not a pun in regards to his height) as there were some close TOs against Nebraska's press, but his game has really improved.
- Turnovers are still an issue for this team, as they committed 15 tonight to Nebraska's 9. I didn't see this final stat, but towards the latter end of the 2nd half, I saw that Nebraska had scored 15+ points off Purdue turnovers. This helped keep Nebraska in the game where Purdue could have blown out the Cornhuskers. Biggie and Edwards led the Boilers with 3 turnovers each, while Thompson and Mathias (who didn't touch the ball often IIRC) had 0 turnovers.
- Perimeter defense continues to hurt this Purdue team. While Nebraska finished with only 7 three pointers, those 7 seemed to happen at critical times during the game, like whenever Nebraska was making a run. Purdue is allowing too many open shots for my liking, and we've seen how this has killed Purdue this season (both Iowa losses, 1st half against Ohio State, etc.). But I could just be spoiled and want Purdue to obtain a perfect shut down defense. Nebraska also made too many shots for my liking, which allowed them to set up their press and give Purdue trouble, not allowing them to run away with the game. Purdue shouldn't be giving up 70+ points at home, as this is the 3rd time they've done it this season (but Purdue did win in all of those games (Vermont, Michigan, Nebraska)).
- Tim Miles now has my vote for Best Looking/Sexiest B1G Coach by wearing an amazing sweater (and I don't even like the color red). Nebraska players also wore their #AveryStrong warm-ups from last weekend. More info on that in the link.
- The Purdue throwback uniforms were also amazing. Let's just say that both teams brought out their sexiness tonight.
- It was great honoring the 90s Purdue Basketball team and the 3-Pete. Gene Keady had the loudest cheers (as expected), and even the Nebraska fans in attendance stood up to cheer for the squad (classy bunch). I'm just glad this team didn't disappear in the 2nd half like Rick Mount night.
Again, a good win for Purdue, all thanks to AJ Hammons' 32 points and Purdue's 7 3-pointers. They were able to hold off a red-hot and upset minded Nebraska team with their own hot offense. Purdue gets a much needed break this week, as they head to Maryland in one of their toughest games of the season.