BOX SCORE: Purdue 92 - North Dakota 60
It's pretty hard to give much of an assessment about where this team might be headed based on what happened tonight. The game was very ragged with not a lot of "flow" or team chemistry. When I say "ragged" here's what I mean. In the first half alone, North Dakota was whistled for 24 personal fouls and Purdue for 17. Couple this with 20 North Dakota turnovers and it's pretty easy to see why Purdue led by 28 points at the break (61-33). Both teams settled down a little bit in the 2nd half, but with the game out of reach and with Purdue playing every conceivable combination under the sun, it wasn't all that entertaining. On top of that, both Dan Vandervieren and Gordon Watt did not dress for the game (Painter said afterwards it was related to a violation of team rules and that's all he was going to say about it) so Purdue was even more undersized than expected.
On the positive side, I was very impressed with what I saw from Chris Kramer, Keaton Grant and Marcus Green. Both of the freshmen looked very comfortable on the floor and Marcus looks like he has really improved since the end of last year. I also liked Tarrance Crump's game and I think he's going to be a difference maker for Purdue this year. I'll also say I was more than pleasantly surprised by Jonathan Uchendu. I'd been led to believe that this kid was another Kevin Garrity/Matt ten Dam type player and based on what I saw tonight I think he's going to be a lot better than that. He's still skinny as a rail and obviously needs to add strength before he's going to be any significant factor for Purdue, but he appears to have a nice touch and good agilty for a big guy. Finally, it was nice to see Carl Landry play well (he had 19 points in only 10 minutes during the first half) after sitting out last year. Carl was simply unstoppable inside and he also made a nice 3-pointer from the top of the key late in the game.
On the down side, David Teague and Chris Lutz both played poorly and I was hoping to see more from them, especially against this weaker competition. Frankly, I thought Bobby Riddell played better than either of them did and with Purdue's depth a guard this year, I didn't expect to see either Riddell or Hartley play significant minutes. In addition, Purdue did what I thought was a poor job of rebounding and the free throw shooting was not particularly accurate.
All in all, it was about what I expected from this team in their first exhibition game. This is a very young team in terms of experience playing together and I think it's going to take some time for everyone to find their "niche" and understand their roles. It should also help when both Watt and Vandervieren return.