© Old Gold Free Press Columnists
BOX SCORE: Purdue 74, Iowa 55
When Purdue played Iowa in Iowa City, Purdue got a grand total of seven points from its bench, shot 13-of-27 from the free throw line, was out-rebounded 29-25, allowed Iowa to shoot 55.6-percent from the field and allowed role players like Tate (11 points), Henderson (10 points), Gorney (8 points) and Freeman (14 points) to have very, very good offensive games. In today’s game, Purdue’s bench delivered 25 points, Purdue shot 18 of 26 from the free throw line, out-rebounded Iowa 38-29, held Iowa to 41.2-percent shooting and Iowa’s role players were held in almost completely in check (Tate (1 point), Henderson (2 points), Gorney (2 points) and Freeman (11 points)). In addition, I think there was some poetic justice in the fact that Iowa shot only 12 of 24 from the free throw line after going 23 of 33 in Iowa City. When you look at those kinds of numbers, it’s easy to see how Purdue went from a 78-59 loss in Iowa City, to a 74-55 blowout win today.
The game itself was pretty much a Purdue rout from the outset. On Purdue’s first possession, Carl Landry nailed a three-pointer as the shot clock was winding down and when David Teague successive three-pointers a couple of possessions later, Purdue took an early 9-3 lead and was never in serious trouble the rest of the first half. I think the lead got as high as 15 points (41-26) before Purdue settled for a 43-30 advantage at halftime. Iowa made a run to start the second half and if it wasn’t for Marcus Green, Purdue might have been in some trouble. As it was, Marcus scored Purdue’s first seven points of the half including a dunk after Iowa had closed the gap to 10 and when Carl Landry dunked on Purdue's next possession, the lead was back up to 14 and Purdue was never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
Carl Landry – Carl was too much for Iowa to handle today and he recorded a double-double with 20 points, 11 rebounds (including five offensive rebounds), four blocked shots, two assists, two steals and four turnovers in 38 minutes of play. He did have a spell of poor free throw shooting late in the first half but he finished with 7-of-11 free throws and that’s pretty close to his average.
David Teague – David started out on fire (I think he had eight points in the first five minutes), but he got into foul trouble and ended up playing only 26 minutes. Still, he ended up with 15 points, eight rebounds, one assist and four turnovers in those minutes and I thought his contributions at both ends of the floor were keys to Purdue’s success.
Tarrance Crump – I really liked the way Tarrance played today. He took advantage of his opportunities at the offensive end and when the shots weren’t there he didn’t try to force things. He did have a couple of bad turnovers but he ended up with 13 points (5-of-6 shooting from the field) along with an assist, a rebound and three turnovers in 20 minutes of play and it seemed like almost all of his baskets came at times when Purdue needed them.
Gordon Watt – Gordon had a tough shooting day (2-of-9 from the field, 1-of-3 from the line), but the two baskets he did make both came on excellent moves to the basket. He ended up with five points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal and one turnover in 28 hard-nosed minutes.
Chris Lutz – Chris hit his first shot (a three-pointer) and then went scoreless the rest of the way (he only took one more shot). However, Chris played some aggressive defense on Haluska and he also contributed three assists and two steals in addition to his three points. I think he could have a big game against Ohio State if they play a lot of zone like they did today.
Marcus Green – Boy it was good to see Marcus pay well today. I don’t think it’s any secret that Marcus has been struggling offensively since the Big Ten started, but today he was extremely effective off the bench with nine points (on 4-of-5 shooting), three rebounds, two blocks, two steals and only one turnover in 20 minutes of play. Personally, I think Marcus is the guy who can help Purdue get to the next level in terms of their over-all play, because when he plays like he did today, Purdue can be pretty hard to beat.
Chris Kramer – Chris’s biggest contribution today didn’t come at the offensive end, it came at the defensive end where he harassed the Big Ten’s leading scorer (Adam Haluska) into a 4-for-16 shooting day. He also found time to score six points, pull down two rebounds, pass out two assists and add one steal and one turnover in 32 minutes of excellent play.
Keaton Grant – Keaton had a little foul trouble today and only played 15 minutes. In those minutes he scored three points and added an assist, a rebound and two turnovers. It wasn’t one of Keaton’s better games, but for a freshman playing his first Big Ten tournament game, I thought he did okay.
Now Purdue faces a very tough challenge in Ohio State. I watched the Ohio State – Michigan game and it looked to me like Ohio State is playing only as hard as they need to. They seem to have an "extra gear" that they can call on when the game gets close and I think Purdue will have to play their best game of the year to beat them. For Purdue to win, I think Carl Landry will have to do a much better job of shot selection than he did when Purdue played them in Columbus and Purdue has to minimize turnovers and not let Ohio State get a lot of easy baskets in transition.
As far as Purdue’s NCAA chances go, it sure didn’t help when Xavier and Nevada both lost in their respective conference tournaments. It also didn’t help when Indiana basically choked away their quarterfinal game against Illinois. I think all Purdue can do at this point is go out against Ohio State tomorrow and give it their best shot and hope the Selection Committee looks favorably on what they’ve been able to accomplish this year. The way I look at it, if teams like Michigan State, Indiana and Illinois make it into the field, Purdue should too, especially since Purdue basically man-handled all three of those teams. I know it doesn’t work that way, and this year may be one of those crazy years where a lot of teams who had middling regular season records get hot and win conference tournaments, but I don’t think there is any question that Purdue has "earned" a spot in the tournament based on the way they have played this year down the stretch. Let’s just hope the Selection Committee sees it the same way I do (Grin).