© Old Gold Free Press Columnists
BOX SCORE: Purdue 84, Loyola-Chicago 53
Watching today’s game reminded me of an old Phillip Morris commercial from the late 60’s or early 70’s that revolved around the phrase "You’ve come a long way baby". Consider this, just less than 2 years ago, Purdue played this very same Loyola (Chic) team in Chicago and got beaten badly 80-65. Purdue used 10 players in that game and only 2 of them (Green and Riddell) are on Purdue’s roster today. Today, Purdue dominated the Ramblers 84-53 using 4 freshmen, 2 sophomores, a junior college transfer playing his first Division I game, 1 senior and the previously mentioned Marcus Green. I realize Loyola (Chic) has some new players as well, but there is no question that this year’s Purdue team is a far cry from the team that took the floor in Chicago that night.
As for the game itself, Purdue trailed early 5-2 and then went on a 12-0 run over the next 5 minutes to take a 14-5 lead. Some of the key shots in this run were 3-pointers by Keaton Grant and Nemanja Calasan and a beautiful drive to the basket for a lay-up by Tarrance Crump. After Loyola (Chic) managed to cut the lead to 7 (16-9), Purdue then went on a 9-0 spurt to take a 25-9 lead with about 8 minutes to go in the half. From here, Loyola (Chic) finally got going and they managed to get with-in 8 points (36-28) with about a minute left in the half before E’Twaun Moore buried a 3-pointer (with a nice assist from Tarrance Crump) with 3 seconds showing on the clock to give Purdue a 39-28 half-time lead.
The second half was more of the same for Loyola (Chic) as Purdue slowly expanded its half-time lead in the early going and then finally broke the game wide open to lead 76-48 with about 5 minutes to go. From here it was pretty much “garbage time” as both teams went deep into their bench and Purdue ended up winning the game 84-53. For the game, Purdue shot almost 60% (59.6%) from the field and anytime a team shoots the ball that well they are going to look pretty good. Still, the most impressive part of the game for me was how hard Purdue attacked Loyola (Chic) defensively. From the opening tip to the final whistle, Purdue put relentless pressure on the basketball and forced Loyola (Chic) completely out of their offense. This continues a positive trend for the year and after 3 games, Purdue has forced 72 turnovers and only committed 29.
Individual player comments:
Tarrance Crump – I thought Tarrance had a very good game for Purdue today. He made a couple of excellent drives to the basket and was able to convert and he also did a good job of containing his man on defense. He ended up playing 17 minutes and scoring 8 points along with 1 rebound, 3 assists and 2 turnovers. Both of his turnovers came when he made poor decisions in the open court and it looked to me like on both occasions he just tried to do too much too fast.
Nemanja Calasan – I thought Nemanja had an impressive debut for a player playing his first game of the season. He entered the game at the first media timeout and about 10 seconds later hit a nice 3-pointer. It looks like he’s got a nice touch from outside and he will definitely help Purdue this year. He ended up playing 22 minutes and scored 7 points and added an assist and no turnovers. I would like to see him do a better job on the boards (he didn’t have a rebound) but he plays physical defense in the post and I think the rebounds will come eventually.
Marcus Green – I thought Marcus gave Purdue some valuable minutes off the bench today. His only points came after he grabbed an offensive rebound and scored but he added an assist and 2 defensive rebounds in 11 minutes of play. He also did an excellent job defensively and it looks like his role this year will be to come in and give Purdue some defensive help.
Keaton Grant – I thought Keaton did an excellent job of playing under control today. He hit two 3-pointrs early and I thought that might cause him to start “hunting” shots, but, to his credit, he continued to let the game come to him and as a result he had an excellent game. He ended up scoring 8 points along with a rebound, an assist, a block, 2 steals and 1 turnover in 23 minutes of play. He was also very effective in putting pressure on the basketball and forcing Loyola (Chic)’s guards out of their comfort zone.
Chris Kramer – Normally, one would think that a player who attempts only one shot in a game didn’t have much of an impact on the game. However, when that player is Chris Kramer, the number of shots he takes isn’t very relevant. Today, Chris only scored 2 points (both FT’s), but he had 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 steal and 2 turnovers in 25 minutes of sustained effort. Defensively, he harassed whichever player he was guarding all over the floor and it’s clear that the kind of effort he puts into playing this game is rubbing off on the rest of Purdue’s players.
Robbie Hummel – Today was another excellent effort by Robbie. He scored (11 points), he rebounded (led the team with 8), he had 2 assists and he defended (1 steal) as well as passing out an assist. He did have 2 turnovers, but as active as he is at both ends of the floor, 2 turnovers in 25 minutes isn’t bad. He’s a joy to watch play and the good thing is that he’s only going to get better.
JaJuan Johnson – I thought JaJuan had his most complete game of the year today. He ended up with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 4 blocked shots (should have been 5, but the referee missed one and called it a foul) with no turnovers in 20 minutes of play. H seems to have a real knack for being able to anticipate shots and he’s another Purdue player that seems to be improving game by game.
Scott Martin – Scott started the game today (in place of E’Twaun) and according to Coach Painter, this move was made primarily because Purdue had been struggling to get going at the beginning of each half and he thought Scott might help change that. Obviously it worked, and Scott had another very productive outing with 15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 turnover in 24 minutes.
E’Twaun Moore – E’Twaun came off the bench today to really give Purdue a shot in the arm offensively. He missed an easy lay-up early on and I thought it might affect him, but he came right back to score on a nice drive and the 3-pointer he made just before intermission seemed to help him regain his confidence because he was on fire in the 2nd half (3 of 3 from beyond the arc). For the day, E’Twaun played a team high 27 minutes and scored a team high 18 points (on only 9 shots) while adding an assist and 2 steals with only 1 turnover. I think E’Twaun showed today what he is capable of offensively and hopefully this performance will serve as a springboard for more good games down the road.
Purdue now moves on to play an undefeated Clemson team on the road as part of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. Clemson will no doubt be a Top 20 team when Purdue plays them and I suspect Purdue will have to be on the top of their games to give them a challenge. I think these first 3 games have given Purdue’s players a small taste of what Division I basketball is like, but there is no question that the Clemson game will be something most of Purdue’s players have never experienced and it will be interesting to see how they handle it. I think the biggest question mark about Purdue’s defense tight now is whether or not they can handle a team with a strong inside game and apparently Clemson will give Purdue all they want in this area.