I’ll admit, I was a little pessimistic about Purdue in the first half as their offense faded away and Penn State started to build momentum. Luckily, Carsen Edwards reminds us to just relax:
From the end of the first half to about the last few minutes of the 2nd half, it was a great game for Purdue, as they put away the fiesta Lions in Madison Square Garden. Last time these two teams met, they were trading points throughout the game and nearly went into overtime with a Carr 3-pointer.
This time, Purdue’s defense took care of business and held Penn State’s offense for most of the game. Garner did score 33 points, but Carr was held to 12 points on 4-18 from the field. While he might still struggle with his ankle, my opinion is that Vincent Edwards is certainly undervalued on defense, and might be the difference between those two defensive performances. Of course, some late Penn State points closed the gap, but the game was already over at that point pending a miracle.
Of course, the real star of this game was Carsen Edwards, who skinned the Lions throughout this game. Carsen finished with 27 points, going 9-18 from the field and 6-9 behind the arc (#nice). Penn State had no answer for Carsen, such as when Pat Chambers was called for a technical before halftime, which gave Purdue the ball, and allowed Carsen to dribble up the court and get a smooth 3 to retake the lead before the half.
If I recall correctly, Purdue never gave up the lead after that Carsen 3.
Outside of Carsen, the rest of the team played well. Haas finished with 17 points on 6-9 shooting (#nice), and Mathias chipped in a semi-quiet 15 points today. Vincent had 7 points, while Cline chipped in two 3-pointers. Purdue finished making 52% of their shots from the field, and only missed one 3-pointer for most of the 2nd half (which held until about the under-4 timeout).
There were some negatives, unfortunately. At the start of the game, Purdue had 6 possessions with 4 turnovers. Luckily, Purdue scored on their other 2 possession and Penn State didn’t cause too much damage, but certainly not a great way to start the game, and could have been detrimental against a team like Michigan. Rebounding, while better than last night’s game against Rutgers, is still a sore spot for Purdue, giving up 16 offensive rebounds and 15 second chance points.
And of course, there were the officials who called a double technical foul as Haas was innocently dragged to the ground by Moore of Penn State. Moore finished with more technical fouls than points.
Overall, great game for Purdue. They now get to face Michigan for the third time this season in the B1G Tournament Title game. Both games against Michigan were close, and this will be the third season in a row where Purdue faces the Wolverines. Michigan has been a tougher opponent each year in the tournament, and I would expect this to be Purdue’s largest test yet. Win or loss, it should be a great game to watch.