Purdue got off to somewhat of a slow start and trailed 6-0 before Kenneth Lowe hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions to give Purdue a 9-6 lead. From there, Purdue gradually expanded the lead and went off at halftime leading 39-27. The second half was a fairly lackluster half for Purdue, but they never let Clemson get any closer than nine and they led by at least 17 late in the game before Clemson threw a full court press at Purdue that caused Purdue a lot of problems.
(1) 3-point shooting – For the game, Purdue was 9 of 16 and the best part of this was that every single 3-point shot was taken in rhythm, nobody was forcing things and all 4 of our 3-point shooters (Buckley, Lowe, Teague and McKnight) made at least 1.
(2) Free throw shooting – For the game, Purdue was 23 of 30 and that included 3 rare misses from Kenneth Lowe (he finished 10 of 13). Easily the surprise of the night was Ivan Kartelo hitting all 8 of his free throw attempts and if I’m not mistaken, every one was dead center.
(3) First half defense – In the first half, I thought Purdue did a real good job of containing the dribble and forcing Clemson out of their offense. Even when Clemson did manage to score, it seemed as if Purdue was right in their face most of the time
(4) Ivan Kartelo – Ivan played probably the best game he’s ever played at Purdue. He had a career high12 points (including 8/8 from the free throw line) along with 8 rebounds (5 of which were offensive) and 2 turnovers in just 17 minutes of play. He was the difference in the game for Purdue and was rightly named player of the game.
(5) Kenneth Lowe – What a player. In addition to his relentless ball hawking on defense, Kenneth managed to find time to score 24 points, grab 3 rebounds, pass out 1 assist and have only 2 turnovers in 30 minutes of solid, solid play.
(6) David Teague – David started again tonight and played 30 minutes. In that time he was pretty productive with 12 points (on 5 of 9 shooting), 4 rebounds, a block and zero turnovers. David has turned into one of Purdue’s most consistent offensive threats and he also plays pretty well at the defensive end.
(7) Melvin Buckley – Melvin came off the bench tonight and scored 7 points and added a rebound, 3 assists and a steal against 1 turnover in 20 minutes of play. Melvin’s another guy that seems to be finding ways to be productive in every game.
(8) Brandon McKnight – Brandon had a little trouble shooting the ball tonight (he was only 3 of 9) and I thought he looked a little tentative when Clemson pressed at the end of the game, but he still; scored 9 points and added 2 rebounds and 3 assists to go along with 2 turnovers in 20 minutes. It wasn’t Brandon’s best game of the year, but it was pretty solid.
(9) Matt Kiefer – I thought Matt played pretty well tonight. He still is having problems finishing underneath, but he continues to be aggressive in going to the basket and as long as he stays aggressive, I think he’ll start finishing plays soon. He did have 6 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks against 2 turnovers in 20 minutes and he was Purdue’s 2nd leading rebounder behind Kartelo.
(10) Chris Booker – I thought Chris played pretty well tonight even though his stats weren’t as good as they have been. He only had 5 points, but he pulled down 4 rebounds (3 offensive) and added 2 assists and 3 blocks to offset 3 turnovers in 25 minutes.
(11) Austin Parkinson – I think the best thing you can say about Austin tonight was that he did what he’s supposed to. He basically split time with Brandon at the point (19 minutes vs 21) and while he only scored 1 point (1 of 2 from the line), he did distribute 3 assists and added a steal with only 1 turnover. Austin is one of those players that always seem to be around the ball and despite not being the quickest guy in the world, he plays pretty solidly at the defensive end.
(1) Rebounding – For the game Purdue was out-rebounded 41-34 including 15-9 on the offensive glass and it’s not like Clemson had a particularly big front line. I thought this was easily the worst rebounding effort of the year for Purdue.
(2) 2nd half defense – After playing pretty well at the defensive end in the first half, Purdue got sloppy in the 2nd half and started letting the Clemson guards dribble penetrate. I don’t know if the Clemson coach saw something in the first half, or whether Purdue’s guards just lost focus, but it had better get corrected in a hurry.
(3) Press offense – Clemson put on a lot of pressure with about 3 minutes to go and Purdue did a very poor job of handling it. They looked unsure of what to do and were very tentative instead of attacking it. Just one more thing that needs to be corrected (grin).
(4) Brett Buscher – I hate to sound like I’m picking on Brett, but he looked very lethargic tonight and other than passing out 3 assists and grabbing 1 rebound in 14 minutes, he didn’t play very well. Keady must have agreed with me because while Brett started both halves, he played fewer minutes than 4 of the guys who came off the bench. He missed his only shot (a wide open 10 footer) and his only free throw and had 2 pretty bad turnovers in what was for him a disappointing effort.
In summary, while Purdue managed to win fairly easily tonight against a Clemson team that never gave up, I was disappointed that Purdue never really put Clemson away and didn’t seem to be playing with the passion and intensity that I expected. Still, after all the travel and the inevitable letdown after winning such a big game in Alaska over Duke, it was a pretty workmanlike job. Fortunately for Purdue, Clemson didn’t shoot the ball very well from beyond the arc (1 of 12) or from the free throw line (11 of 19) or this one would have been much closer. Assuming Purdue beats Chicago State this Saturday, it would set up a huge game for Purdue against Oklahoma a week from tomorrow. I don’t think Oklahoma is quite as strong as they were last year, but going into Norman and escaping with a win will be a tall order unless Purdue can find a way to do a better job of rebounding the basketball and taking care of the basketball.