I might have finally recovered enough from last nights game to write about it. What a finish! I would probably preferred a blowout, but Purdue got the win in the end. During the game I was having flashbacks to last season. Purdue was on a two game losing streak when Ohio State came into town. They had a fourteen point lead against the Buckeyes, and they ended up losing the game. Last night Purdue was on a two game losing streak, and they had a fourteen point lead. As the game got tighter I kept thinking of last years game. The one good thing if there is one about this year’s losing streak is that one of the losses was out of conference.
Purdue really rode its two stars last night. Ryne Smith started out hot, but really never could get open again until late in the game. Early in the first half E’Twaun Moore starting playing like this guy that was dominant early in the season. It was great to see the swagger back for E’Twaun. After he canned his first three of the night he did not display his normal three fingers with his right hand. I think it had been so long since he made a three that he forgot his routine. It wasn’t too long before he made another three, and this time it was the same old routine.
Purdue’s win came down to a late shot, but it was the result of a good night in the turnover department. They caused 13, and only committed three on the night. Two of those threes were offensive fouls. That means that they only committed one ball error on the night. Early on a potential turnover by Kelsey Barlow turned into a Ryne Smith three. They really were good with the ball last night. It was fitting that the game ended when Lewis Jackson intercepted the inbounds pass at midcourt with 3.4 seconds left. That is much better than getting beat by a blown assignment. A little confusion between E’twaun and Kelsey led to a three pointer by Jeff Brooks that could have been the game winner. Brooks was tough on the night scoring 19 points. In the end I got all of the excitement that I could handle when Johnson nailed a jumper with 3.4 seconds left to give the Boilers the win. If this is what the rest of the Big Ten season is going to be like I may need to have medical personnel standing by.
In the end it was a win, and the Boilers stay a game behind Ohio State for the Big Ten lead. I can’t wait to see how they top this game Saturday against Michigan State with the College Gameday crew in town. That is going to be a fun and tiring day. I will have to leave home before five in the morning to make it to the morning taping with the game being a eight o’clock tip at night. I may have to have a little caffeine on the way home that night.
Play(s) of the Game – I changed this section up a little because I wanted to talk about a couple plays. The first is a series for Kelsey Barlow. His tough defense caused a turnover for Penn State. The good Purdue crowd appreciates defense so they gave Kelsey a hand. As he brought the ball down the floor they let him go right to the basket for some reason. He laid down a monster two hand slam. I snapped a picture just before he threw it home, but it came out blurry. That is too bad because in the background was Taylor Battle already hanging his head. Another great play of the game was the first three made by E’twaun. The crowd really got into the shot to support him. Of course the real play of the game was the shot by JaJuan Johnson that won the game. With just a few seconds left and trailing by one JJ took a shot from the baseline that went through the net. I would not have drawn up JJ taking a shot from out there to win the game, but it made for an exciting finish.
Gameball – JJ had a game high 25 points and the game winner. I think that he takes the gameball easily. He probably had it anyway before he took the pass from Ryne Smith and nailed the game winner. His missed free throw a minute before the shot was the difference in the game, but great players make up for their mistakes.
On a side not part of the fun of going to these games is watching Coach Painter interact with his players. The most notable being Kelsey Barlow. He really gets on Barlow who seems to be on a short leash. The first mistake, or in one case last night a near mistake, and he is pulled from the game. When Barlow is on the court Painter is yelling at him quite a bit. I have a vision in my head of Barlow having nightmares about Painter following him to class yelling “Class Barlow…Class.”