© Old Gold Free Press Columnists
BOX SCORE: Purdue 66, Bethune-Cookman 40
With apologies to Grantland Rice I’ll start my game summary with the following:
Outlined against a pitch black November sky the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as famine, pestilence, destruction and death. These are only aliases. Their real names are: Hummel, Johnson, Martin and Moore. They formed the crest of the Purdue cyclone before which a game, but outmanned Bethune-Cookman team was swept over the precipice at Mackey Arena tonight as approximately 10,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the hardwood below.
The actual game was over quickly as Purdue jumped to a 13-2 lead behind some inspired play by Chris Kramer, E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson and Bethune-Cookman was forced to call their first time out just before the first media time out. Purdue then went into a funk and was outscored by Bethune-Cookman 7-1 over the next 8 plus minutes. During this stretch, Purdue missed a number of easy shots and looked like a team that hadn’t played together very long. Fortunately, Marcus Green made a nice put-back of a missed Chris Kramer free throw and that kick started Purdue to a 22-12 run to end the half. The first half was capped by a good looking 3-point shot by E’Twaun Moore off a designed play called by the coaching staff during a time out with 19 seconds to go in the half.
Purdue quickly built a 21 point lead (42-21) to start the second half, but then lapsed back into another funk and B-C was able to eventually cut the lead to 13 (45-32) with about 11 minutes to play in the game. From here, it was pretty much all Purdue as they outscored B-C by a score of 21-8 over the last 11 minutes. The highlight of this stretch was a fast break dunk by JaJuan Johnson off a pretty feed from Tarrance Crump. There was one stretch during these last 11 minutes where Tarrance drove the lane and scored, hit a 3-pointer one possession later and then had assists to Johnson, Moore and Martin on three consecutive possessions. It was as good a stretch as Tarrance has ever played for Purdue.
Tarrance Crump – I was sitting there at half-time trying to think of a nice way to say Tarrance had a bad first half. He was 0 for 3 from the floor (all bad shots) with no assists – not exactly the kind of stats Purdue is going to need from their starting point guard. Then, as mentioned above, Tarrance put on a clinic on how to play the point guard position during the 2nd half. He finished with 5 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and zero turnovers in 21 minutes of play and I was very encouraged by the fact that he didn’t let his poor first half bother him. Hopefully his 2nd half play is a sign of things to come.
Marcus Green – I thought Marcus played a very, very good game tonight. He hit a nice 3-pointer and was 4 for 4 from the floor for 9 points. He added 2 rebounds and a steal in 16 minutes. He also had 3 turnovers. The thing I like about Marcus is that he’s playing hard at both ends of the floor and he’s versatile enough that he can guard a variety of different players effectively. I think Marcus will give Purdue some valuable minutes off the bench this year.
Bobby Riddell – I’m still waiting to see Bobby regain the shooting form he displayed as a freshman when he was a 46% shooter from beyond the arc. Last year he struggled mightily from outside (he was only 2 of 17 from beyond the arc) and tonight he missed all 3 of his 3-pointers even though all of them were basically uncontested. Going into this season, I wasn’t expecting Bobby to play a whole lot, but I did think that he might be able to help Purdue against teams that played a lot of zone. Based on what he’s shown in the 3 games Purdue has played so far this year, I’m beginning to wonder.
Chris Reid – Chris played 10 minutes tonight and didn’t score. He did have a couple of nice rebounds, 2 assists and 1 turnover so it’s fair to say he contributed in a positive way. I think Chris will help this team this year, but I wouldn’t look for him to be much of a scorer.
Chris Kramer – Man, is this kid fun to watch play. Tonight he led all scorers with 15 points and I think it’s safe to say that the B-C coach will have nightmares thinking about how Chris almost single-handedly disrupted their offense. In addition to wreaking havoc on the defensive end (4 steals), Chris had 3 assists, 1 blocked shot and zero turnovers in 26 minutes of play.
Robbie Hummel – Don’t be fooled into thinking Robbie had a bad game tonight just because he only scored 2 points. Robbie is the kind of player who does just about everything well and he definitely made his presence felt tonight with 3 rebounds, 2 assists , 4 steals and zero turnovers in 23 minutes of play. I really like Robbie’s intensity at both ends of the floor and I think it’s only a matter of time before he figures out how to be a consistent scorer.
JaJuan Johnson – 12 points, 7 rebounds and only 1 turnover in 28 minutes of play aren’t bad stats for a freshman playing his first Division I game. It’s true that B-C didn’t have any big guys, so JaJuan’s stats are perhaps a little misleading, but from what I’ve seen, the sky is the limit for this young man. He’s got a very nice looking jump shot and he runs the floor extremely well. He also looks very comfortable at the free throw line (he was 4 of 5 tonight).
Scott Martin – Scott had a rough night shooting the basketball (he was 0 for 6 from beyond the arc), but all of his shots were the kinds of shots you want him to take and you have to think that sooner or later they are going to start falling. Despite his shooting woes, Scott made positive contributions in other ways. He finished with 9 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 steal and only 1 turnover in 27 minutes of play and I liked the fact that he kept playing hard even though his outside shot wasn’t falling.
E’Twaun Moore – I thought E’Twaun played very well tonight. He scored (14 points), defended (3 steals and a block) and added 4 rebounds and 5 assists. His only negative was 4 turnovers. The best word I can think of to describe E’Twaun’s game is smooth. He just seems to glide from place to place on the floor and I think he’s going to have a break-out game very soon where he scores a lot of points.
Chad Sutor – Chad played a few minutes at the end of the game and had a rebound and a turnover.
In summary, it’s pretty hard to gauge just how good this year’s Purdue team can be. For one thing, Purdue was playing without two players (Calasan and Grant) that both figure to play significant roles on this year’s team. For another, I don’t think B-C is very good and my guess is that Purdue will not play anyone else this year that commits as many turnovers (22 turnovers in the 1st half and 30 for the game) as B-C did tonight. One thing that stood out for me tonight was Purdue’s lack of a strong inside presence. Hopefully Nemanja Calasan will help significantly in this area once he starts playing, but if he can’t rebound, defend and at least keep defenses honest, I think Purdue will have to rely too heavily on perimeter shooting to be able to consistently beat Big 10 caliber teams. The good news is that this year’s team has a lot of good players and if the coaching staff can find a way to make the pieces of the puzzle come together, I think this year’s team has the potential to be pretty good.