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OldGoldFreePress COLUMNISTS | BACK TO MDC'S COLUMNS

PURDUE MENS BASKETBALL:
Purdue 64, Penn State 42


Published: 1/24/2008
Author: MDC
© Old Gold Free Press Columnists

BOX SCORE: Purdue 64, Penn State 42

Don’t be misled by the final score of tonight’s game with Penn State (a convincing 64-42 Purdue win) because it could easily have been a lot worse. Matt Painter showed a lot of compassion tonight by calling off the dogs very early in the 2nd half and the final score could easily have been 80-30 if he had wanted to run up the score. You have to feel a little sorry for the Penn State coaches and players because they really played well for 30 minutes against Indiana on Sunday and I think that effort took a lot out of them emotionally and tonight they had very little fight.

As for the game itself, neither team played all that well early and Purdue led by only 2 (14-12) at the 2nd Media timeout. Penn State’s Talor Battle was having some success penetrating the lane and it looked at this point like Purdue could have a game on their hands. Purdue then closed the first half on a 25-6 run to essentially salt the game away and it was a run fueled primarily by excellent defense and some good shooting from beyond the arc. When Purdue opened the 2nd half with a 9-0 run over the first 6 ½ minutes to extend the lead to 30 (48-18), the game was essentially over and Purdue played most of the rest of the way with non-starters.

It would be hard to find anything about tonight’s game to be unhappy about if you were on the coaching staff. Purdue had 18 assists on 25 made baskets, they were 11 of 25 from 3-point range (6 different players made 3-pointers), they had only 9 turnovers, they blocked 9 shots, they won the rebounding battle 31-25 and they had 8 steals. It was a dominating performance by a team that looks like they are finally coming together as a unit. About the only thing they could have done better was get to the free throw line more often, but that’s being pretty nit-picky (Grin).

Tarrance Crump – I thought Tarrance brought a lot of energy at the defensive end and I thought he did a good job of hounding Battle. On the offensive end, he only took one shot (it missed) and he had a couple of turnovers, but he also had 4 assists and a rebound and played under control for the most part.

Nemanja Calasan – Nemanja got off to a great start and scored 7 of Purdue’s first 9 points to keep them in the game early. He finished with 11 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and a block in only 18 minutes of play and it looks like he has established himself as a player that needs to be accounted for by the other team. This was the first time since early in the year that Nemanja has had back-to-back games where he scored in double figures and let’s hope he keeps up this level of play.

Marcus Green – I thought Marcus played great tonight. He was active defensively and he was taking open shots with-in the framework of the offense. He ended the night with 8 points (on 3/6 shooting), 2 rebounds, 2 blocked shots and 2 turnovers in 20 minutes of play. It looks to me like Marcus is gaining confidence with each passing game and I think he can play a very important role for Purdue the remainder of the season.

Keaton Grant – After back-to-back 22 point games and being named Big Ten Player of the Week, Keaton came back to earth a little bit tonight. I thought Battle got the best of him early, but to Keaton’s credit, he hung in there and Battle was not much of a factor after the first 6 or 8 minutes. Keaton ended up with only 5 points (2 of 6 from the field including 1 of 5 from 3-point range), but he did add 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and zero turnovers in 22 minutes of play.

Chris Kramer – Once again, Chris didn’t exactly light up the stat sheet as he finished the game with only 2 points along with 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and zero turnovers in 21 minutes of play. However, if you look at the opponent’s side of the box-score, you’ll notice that Danny Morrissey was scoreless in 21 minutes of play and the person primarily responsible for that was Chris Kramer. If you might recall, this is the same Danny Morrissey that was 6 of 7 from 3-point range in Mackey Arena last year when he scored 21 points and almost single-handedly kept Penn State in the game.

Robbie Hummel – Robbie was sensational tonight as he recorded the 2nd double-double of his young Purdue career with 15 points and 11 rebounds. He also had 5 assists, 1 block, 1 steal and only 1 turnover in 26 minutes of play. As impressive as those offensive stats are, his defensive effort on Jamelle Cornley was just as impressive. Cornley is a big, strong physical player and Robbie gave no quarter in holding him to 9 points and only 4 rebounds. It was a very, very impressive game from a young freshman.

JaJuan Johnson – JaJuan got to play significant minutes tonight and as is usually the case with JaJuan he had some very good moments and a few bad ones. He ended up scoring 4 points and added 1 rebound and 2 blocked shots in 20 minutes of play and I continue to believe that patience is the key word when it comes to JaJuan’s play. As has been noted numerous times, JaJuan needs to add strength if he is going to be able to be consistently effective against Big 10 caliber opposition, but it looks to me like he is working hard to do what the coaches are telling him to do and I think that’s all anyone can ask at this point in his career.

Scott Martin – Scott continues to do a very solid job off the bench in a non-flashy way. Tonight he had 8 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block, 3 steals and only 1 turnover in 20 minutes of play and I thought his play was instrumental in Purdue breaking the game open during the first half run. Scott’s scoring has dropped a little bit since Big 10 play started, but he continues to rebound the basketball well and he’s improved his assist/turnover ratio.

E’Twaun Moore – Ho-hum, just another 11 point, 1 rebound, 5 assist, 1 block, 1 steal and 1 turnover in 23 minutes game from E’Twaun. In Big 10 play, E’Twaun has 22 assists and only 10 turnovers and he has been in double figures in scoring in 4 of the 6 games and in the two games he wasn’t in double figures, he had 9 points. He’s been a model of consistency for Purdue all year and he continues to play a key role in this team’s success.

Next up for Purdue is a visit from the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday in a game that could play a huge role in determining whether Purdue will get invited to the NCAA Tournament. Wisconsin comes into the game ranked in the top 20 in the country and at the top of the Big 10 standings at 6-0. They are an excellent defensive team (opponents only score 54.2 ppg) and they aren’t bad offensively (averaging 70.4 ppg). Wisconsin is extremely well coached by Bo Ryan and they have good size as well as some very athletic backcourt players. Obviously, this game is a huge game for Purdue and it would be great if Mackey Arena was packed to the rafters this Saturday. If you are reading this and live with-in driving distance of West Lafayette, why don’t you come to the game and support the team? This Purdue team is very entertaining to watch and I don’t think you will be sorry you made the effort.


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