BOX SCORE: Purdue 74, Oklahoma 71
Greetings everyone from Maui! Today's game was a true "nail-biter" in almost every respect. I don't think either team led at any point in the game by more than five points and the outcome wasn't decided until Oklahoma missed a three-pointer with less than five seconds to go in the game. There are a lot of reasons why this was a good win for Purdue but chief among them is it was achieved without the services of one of Purdue's very best players. Chris Kramer was out with an apparent knee injury although he did dress and appeared to be walking without too much difficulty. It was also Purdue's first victory away from Mackey in about two years and is further evidence that this program is on the road to recovery. Oklahoma is a team that appears to be searching for an "identity" much like Purdue is and while beating them isn't going to put Purdue basketball on the map nationally, it's still a nice win against a respectable opponent.
As I said above, this game was close throughout and for once Purdue got a couple of breaks when they needed them. The first break came midway through the second half when Oklahoma was whistled for a technical foul after Landry was hacked on his way up for a shot. It appeared that an Oklahoma player shoved Carl after the play was over and that the technical foul was justified, but it was a call that might not always get made. Purdue only made one of the two free throws after the technical and then Watt double-dribbled after the in-bounds pass, so the technical wasn't as devastating to Oklahoma as it could have been. But that one extra point proved huge down the stretch. The second break came with about 31 seconds left in the game when an Oklahoma player came down with a rebound on a shot that didn't hit the rim. There was only one second left on the shot clock, and the ball fell out of bounds. After some discussion amongst the officials, they decided to give Purdue a new shot clock and this forced Oklahoma to foul immediately. It was a nice piece of officiating by Ed Hightower. After the foul on the in-bounds play, Carl Landry hit two big free throws to put Purdue up five points. Oklahoma missed a shot, got the rebound and then made two free throws. Marcus Green was fouled on the in-bounds pass and hit both free throws to restore the five point lead. Landry picked up what I thought was a "bad" foul on Oklahoma's ensuing possession, and when the Oklahoma player's "prayer" was answered (the shot went in) and the free throw was good, Purdue led by only two with about ten seconds left. Green was again fouled on the in-bounds play and he made the second free throw after missing the first and Purdue led by three with 9.1 seconds remaining. I think Gordon Watt corralled Oklahoma's last gasp three-point attempt and Purdue walked off the court with a hard fought victory.
Carl Landry Carl was virtually unstoppable today and he finished with 30 points, seven rebounds and a blocked shot in 35 minutes of play. About the only thing wrong with his game today were his six turnovers (five in the first half), but he's getting a lot of double and triple teams in the post and sometimes he tries to do too much. Still, his effort was very noticable today and as long as Carl continues to play this hard, I think he's headed for a very good senior season. He was clearly the best player on the floor today.
David Teague For the second straight game, David struggled to find any shooting rhythm. However, today, he was in foul trouble most of the way and he only played 18 minutes. He did manage two points, three rebounds and only one turnover in those minutes, but David is clearly still having some difficulty shaking off the rust after last season's injury. Hes such an enthusiastic player it's hard to see him getting down on himself and I think he's going to be fine once he has a game where his shots start to fall.
Tarrance Crump I thought Tarrance really came up big today for Purdue. With Kramer out, much of the defensive pressure Purdue puts on the basketball fell on his shoulders and I thought he did a good job of keeping his man in front of him. He also had a couple of nice drives to the basket for lay-ups and he ended the game with nine points, one rebound, one assist and zero turnovers in 26 minutes. Oklahoma mixed up their defensive pressure all day and I thought Tarrance was particularly effective when Oklahoma was in their three-quarter court press.
Marcus Green Marcus had a tough shooting day (1-of-6), but he made 3-of-4 pressure packed free throws down the stretch and I was impressed by how cool and calm he looked shooting them. Marcus played 26 minutes today and ended with nine points, three rebounds and three turnovers.
Gordon Watt I continue to be impressed with Gordon Watt's quiet efficiency. He's not the flashiest player, but he plays hard, he plays smart and he knows how to rebound the basketball. Today, he had 14 points and 11 rebounds (six offensive) in 32 minutes and while he did have four turnovers, they were about the only negatives in his play today. Gordon also hit a huge three-pointer from the top of the key late in the second half and it looks to me like he's got good range on his shot.
Chris Lutz Chris started today in Chris Kramer's place and picked up three fouls in about the first eight minutes. I thought to myself, "looks like another wasted game for Chris". Fortunately I was wrong as Chris came back in the second half and hit two big three-pointers to help spark Purdue's offense. He ended up playing only 20 minutes, but he had seven points, one rebound, three assists and three turnovers in one of his better efforts this year.
Keaton Grant Keaton had a rough shooting game today. He missed the front end of consecutive 1-and-1 free throw attempts in the first half and all four of his field goal attempts for the game. Still, he played 32 minutes on a very tender ankle and ended up with three points, one rebound, five assists and only one turnover in a pretty gutsy performance.
Jonathan Uchendu, Dan Vandervieren and Bobby Riddell all played but didn't score or dent the statistics except for Bobby Riddell's rebound.
In summary, I think this was a good win today for Purdue. They out-rebounded a taller Oklahoma team 33-26 and they showed a lot of poise down the stretch in a tight ballgame that could easily have gone the other way. They also won without a key player and this is even more significant considering Purdue has a short bench to start with. My guess is that tomorrow's opponent will be DePaul and if Purdue can somehow win that one, I think it would be considered a successful trip.