Yesterday the Boilers played a very solid game against the Alabama Crimson Tide. The game was very physical, and for some reason only the cheap fouls were being called. I will have a little more on that later.The Boilers won the battle of tough defenses to win 66-47. Things did not look so good for Purdue early on. At one point of the game they were down 16-13. John Hart nailed a jumper to make the score 16-15, then the two teams took turns missing baskets for a while. Finally JaJuan Johnson made two free throws to put Purdue up for good. Purdue scored 17 straight points to go up 30-16. They went on a 17-4 run to end the half. During that run they forced six turnovers. They held Alabama scoreless for just over seven minutes.
The Boilers had the big lead at the half, and then just wore down Alabama in the second half. Alabama had a tough trap that was slowing Purdue down a little, but as they got tired the defense started to break down a little for the Tide. That resulted in some open looks for Purdue. Purdue just seemed to be on cruise control during the second half.
DJ Byrd saw some limited action yesterday with a heavy brace on his shoulder. When he had the ball you knew that he was not going to shoot it. John Hart had eight points coming off the bench to provide a little spark again. Purdue still needs a third guy to step up to be a scorer. Terone Johnson has moments of brilliance, but then will look like a freshman. The success of this team will rest on somebody stepping up as a scoring threat. The load has to be taken off of JJ and E’Twaun.
Play of the Game - JaJuan Johnson made a nice steal and fade away left handed hook shot early in the game. johnson almost shot the ball behind his head and it still went in. That was a great play for sure. The play of the game though has to be the rebound slam that Kelsey Barlow made. E’Twaun Moore missed a shot from the baseline, and the ball hit off the rim and went straight up. From out of nowhere Barlow swept in and grabbed the ball at the top of his jump and slammed it home. Kelsey really got up to get that ball, and put it in with authority. That play got the crowd going more than any other. They also watched the scoreboard intently waiting for a reply. The dunk put the Boilers up 9-8, and really did not factor into the outcome. It did however get the crowd on its feet.
Gameball - I may be giving this to E’Twaun Moore too much this year. Maybe I should create an award for each game for the best player not named JaJuan or E’Twaun. All E’Twaun did was score 23 points with nine rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. How good is this guy? When the other team is slowing down JaJuan, E’Twaun finds a way to win. His defense is something that you usually don’t read about. He was credited with two steals, but he knocked the ball away from his guy many times yesterday. He really is a star on both ends of the floor. In the second half one of the Alabama players made a move on JaJuan to get him in the air. They went around him, and thought that they had a good look at the basket. Moore came from out of nowhere to block the shot. I am really having fun watching him play out his senior season.
The Paint Crew was awesome again. They just continue to bring life to Mackey. They always have their moment with the IU sucks cheer, but I always try to find another moment where they shined during the game. It was easy this week. With 5:47 left in the game and Alabama shooting a free throw they started a Auburn’s Better chant. For some reason I thought that it was great. The player even missed his free throw during the chant making it even better. I will have a couple of the Paint Crew signs up with the pictures tomorrow.
One comment on the media. I always see where people are saying that we get no love. If you look at the AP article the title says that Purdue bounces back with a win over Alabama. Reading into the article a bit you see where they are talking about bouncing back after the Richmond loss. This was the second win since that loss, but they really like to remind everyone that Purdue has lost. I guess the team can use all the negativity to keep them motivated.
While I am complaining here lets talk about the officials yesterday. They were terrible. I normally don’t complain about the officials. Yesterday though they were so inconsistent that it was hard to watch. They would let the players beat and bang on each other, then call a cheap foul on someone. For some reason Lewis Jackson was the recipient of most of those calls. He had four fouls called on him yesterday, and all four were questionable. The first instance where that happened came when E’Twaun was fouled right in front of me. The foul was not called, and when the ball went out of bounds off of Alabama it was given to ‘Bama. As the ball was being brought up the floor LewJack was called for a cheap foul that was not nearly as bad as the one that made E’Twaun lose the ball at the other end. LewJack’s second foul came after Barlow was knocked to the ground and lost the ball. No foul was called of course. When the ball was in Alabamas hands though things were a little different. LewJack did nothing and was called. LewJacks fourth foul was terrible. He didn’t even touch the guy. Watching the replay Dan Dakich was even laughing at the bad call. For two thirds of the game the officials were not calling blatant moving screens. Then for some reason they started calling them. If you are going to let them play you have to be consistent. Unfortunately they were no where near consistent yesterday. Thankfully it was not a close game, and the outcome was not decided by the bad calls. Don’t get me wrong the bad calls went both ways. That is what made the officiating so bad.
The ranting aside today I am heading over to snowy South Bend to see the lady Boilers take on the Fighting Irish. If I make it back through the snow I will have a post up from the game tomorrow.