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BOX SCORE: Purdue 95, Wagner 69
If you need evidence that tonight’s game was a complete mismatch, consider the following:
At the first media time-out, Wagner was shooting 66.7% from the field and still trailed 21-11. At this point in the game, Carl Landry already had 11 points, Wagner had four turnovers and had already called two time-outs. At this point, I expected things to get worse for Wagner, but surprisingly that was not to be the case. Purdue proceeded to play poorly for the next ten minutes or so (shooting bad shots on the offensive end and losing focus at the defensive end) and Wagner slowly closed the gap to 40-33 and was shooting a two-shot foul as the last media time-out was taken. During the time-out, Matt Painter apparently reminded his players that Carl Landry was wearing a Purdue uniform and that it might be a good idea to pass him the ball since Wagner had absolutely nobody who could guard him effectively.
After the time-out, Wagner made both free throws to cut the lead to 40-35 and then Purdue immediately ran off 13 unanswered points to lead at the half 53-35. During this run, Chris Kramer and Carl Landry dominated the action and I think Chris had steals leading to lay-ins on successive possessions to really break the game open. Purdue then came out and dominated the first five minutes of the second half and stretched the lead to more than 30 points before Matt Painter put in the reserves. To further underscore how big a mismatch this game was, just look at minutes played. Nobody on Purdue’s roster played more than 22 minutes and everyone played at least 11. Shoot, Purdue even played a walk-on (Graf) who hadn’t played a single minute all year and he pulled down two rebounds in his two minutes of action.
Two other noteworthy aspects of tonight’s game were that Purdue played the entire first half with only one turnover (they failed to get the ball in-bounds within five seconds) and David Teague became the 41st player in Purdue history to score 1000 points in a career. Congratulations to David for accomplishing this milestone.
Carl Landry – As I noted above, Wagner simply did not have anyone who could effectively guard Carl and they refused to double and triple team him most of the time. As a result, Carl had a field day inside and he finished with 26 points, two rebounds and one steal in only 22 minutes of play. If one were being picky, he might take Carl to task for not having more rebounds, but during the time Carl was actually in the game, there weren’t exactly a lot of rebounds to be had because both teams were shooting the ball at a high percentage.
David Teague – David had several nice drives to the basket tonight and he probably attacked the rim more than any game he’s played all year and perhaps ever. He ended the night with 15 points, one rebound, three assists and a steal in only 21 minutes and I thought he really did a good job of taking what the defense was giving him. He did take one three-pointer way too early in a possession, but other than that it would be hard to find fault with his effort tonight.
Chris Hartley – Chris got his first extended playing time of the season tonight (14 minutes) and he responded with two points (on a nice drive), six rebounds a steal and a turnover.
Tarrance Crump – Tarrance didn’t play a lot tonight (13 minutes) , but he was pretty productive in those minutes with seven points, two rebounds, one assist, two steals and zero turnovers. I think Tarrance probably would have played more, but both Grant and Kramer were playing well and I there was really no need for Tarrance to play more.
Gordon Watt – Gordon also played sparingly tonight (15 minutes) and surprisingly did not have a rebound. He did have eight points and four assists and once again showed a nice touch from the perimeter (2-of-4 on three-pointers). I also was encouraged to see Gordon hit both of his free throw attempts.
Chris Lutz – Chris started and played 19 minutes and hit his only shot (a three-pointer). He also passed out four assists and did not have a turnover, so I’d say it was a decent night for Chris. I’d like to see Chris get more shots, but I also like the fact that Chris is not forcing things and I think he’s improved his game a lot in the last year.
Marcus Green – Marcus got some extra time playing mop-up duty (he and Keaton Grant basically split 10 of the last 12 minutes) and he responded with 13 points, two rebounds, one assist and two steals in 19 very solid minutes of play. He also did not have a turnover and it seems to me that Marcus’s performance level is improving with each passing game.
Bobby Riddell – Bobby is really struggling with his shot. Tonight he was 0-for-5 on three-pointers and I don’t think his last two attempts hit anything. He did hit his only two free throws and added a rebound and two turnovers in 14 minutes of play. Last year, Bobby hit 11-of-24 from beyond the arc (45.8%), so he's proved he can shoot it. Hopefully, he'll rediscover his shooting touch soon.
Chris Kramer – Chris played only 17 minutes tonight, but in those minutes he scored eight points, pulled down four rebounds and added three assists and SIX steals to go with a single turnover. He was the catalyst that fueled Purdue’s 13-0 run to end the first half and he seems to have an uncanny knack for anticipating where the opponents are going to pass the basketball. I thought he played an outstanding game tonight.
Keaton Grant – Keaton only scored two points in 15 minutes of play, but I'm beginning to think that Keaton doesn't have to score much to be a big contributor for Purdue. He's solid at the defensive end of the floor and he is also a good passer and rebounder. Tonight he had four rebounds, one assist, one steal and a single turnover to go with his only basket, and he's definitely a player that does a lot of little things to help the team win.
Jonathan Uchendu – Jonathan struggled early, but once he got into the flow of the game he showed some really good athleticism (he had one put-back where he came flying across the lane, grabbed the rebound and put it back in with one smooth motion). He ended up playing 18 minutes and scored seven points to go along with four rebounds and a blocked shot. Jonathan has a long way to go before he'll be ready to bang with the kind of big men he'll see in the Big Ten, but I think he has a lot of potential and it will be fun to watch and see how much he's willing to work to improve his strength and his basketball skills.
Dan Vandervieren – Dan also got several minutes tonight (11), but to be honest he didn't do much when he was in there. He did grab four rebounds and make a nice post-up move for a basket, but he had three turnovers and three personal fouls in his limited time. It looks to me like Dan has a lot of work in front of him if he expects to be a positive contributor at the Big Ten level. I've always thought that big men had the hardest time adjusting to the college game and I think Dan is a perfect example of that. In high school, I'd guess he pretty much had his way inside, but now that he's in college, he's struggling against the bigger stronger players he's facing and the game is hard for him. Like Jonathan, it's going to be fun to watch and see how much he's willing to work at his game.
In summary, tonight's game was a good one in the sense that it gave Matt Painter and the coaching staff a chance to play everyone some extended minutes and reward some of his players for their hard work in practice. With the Big Ten season opener at Minnesota looming in about two weeks, I think it's important for Purdue to gain confidence and certainly winning so easily tonight can't help but boost the team's confidence.
From what I understand, Purdue's next opponent (Texas A&M – Corpus Christi) is a much better opponent than Wagner and should provide a good test before Purdue heads home for the holidays. Purdue follows that game with a difficult road contest against Indiana State on Dec. 28 in a game where the ISU players will no doubt be sky high and then closes out their non-conference schedule with a game on Dec. 30 against Southeast Missouri State.
Hopefully, Purdue will build on tonight's easy win with three more non-conference wins and head to Minneapolis on a roll. If they can do that, I think Purdue has a legitimate chance to do some real damage in the Big Ten this year.