Last night I walked into Mackey which was already buzzing with a little buzz myself. I had already had a great day, and I was wondering how the game could top any of it. Of course it did. Let me just start off by saying how great the Paint Crew was yet again. They brought it all game, and thanks to a little prodding from the student body so did the alums. I noticed a sign right away in the Paint Crew that told the alums to stand up. The other side said applause. The sign seemed to work because the crowd was in the game the entire game. This was an electric atmosphere that stayed throughout the night. It may have been the loudest I have heard it since I started regularly coming to games in 2005. I know, the cat is out of the bag. Now you all know what a bandwagon fan that I am. They were coming off a 7-21 record when I bought my season tickets. They far and away surpassed that the following season when they had a 9-19 record. For some reason though I fell in love with that team that only won nine games. They played a brand of basketball that I really liked. They have quickly turned into a national powerhouse that leads to big days like yesterday. I was very proud to be a Boilermaker yesterday.
This was a great game that saw many players step up at different times. It all started with E’Twaun hitting a tough shot to give the Boilers their first two points. He was tough early on. That is the Smooge we are used to seeing. He had 19 at the half helping Purdue take a comfortable lead. I don’t know if I can say any more about him than I have said all season long. He is just so fun to watch. Next year will be rough when both E’Twaun and JJ are gone. Just know that you are spoiled right now getting to watch these two play.
The second guy to come up big last night was Lewis Jackson. LewJack had a stretch where he just took over the game. He had a slow white guy trying to guard him so he just took the ball to the hole. After putting a few in they started crashing on him so he then could just kick it out to the open man. He finished the game with a career high 19 points. He really was a force in the game. Later on today in the photo gallery I have a shot of LewJack during his ‘dunk.’ I still don’t know if he gets credit for throwing it down, but in my book he did.
Ho hum. Just a twenty point night for JaJuan Johnson. He had a dunk, some of his typical tough fadeaways, and the usual Johnson night. I think that his biggest play though came late. After Tom Izzo decided to start fouling shortly after halftime the Boilers had a couple of bad trips at the line. At the next inbounds play Johnson raced to the baseline to get the ball knowing he would be fouled, and would go to the line. He made both of his threes. He is just fun to watch.
Early on I would not have thought that Kelsey Barlow would have been an impact. He changed all of that very quickly though. He had a few very nice passes in transition, and his now signature dunk that we expect every game. He also played some great defense down the stretch. This guy has everything needed to be a star. He also seems to look like the devil in most of the pictures I take of him. He is one to watch as plays his final 2+ years as a Boiler.
It seems like everyone who played did something positive. John Hart was only in for a short time, but it was good just to see him on the floor. I noticed he was still wearing the boot at gameday so I wondered how his foot is doing. Ryne Smith had a couple threes set up by LewJack driving. Terone Johnson made a couple freshman mistakes, but is a solid player just waiting to break out. Sandi Marcius played for a short time, but his positioning helped force a travel in the first half. His celebrations when he makes a good play are fun to watch.
Play of the Game – With so many big plays it is hard to pick one, but I have to go with the ‘dunk’ by Lewis Jackson. That was an awesome play that I hope to see again.
Gameball – I really want to give this to everyone who logged a minute in the game. It seems as if everyone stepped up when they were needed to. After his recent struggles though I am giving it back to E’Twaun. Early in the year this was almost named the E’Twaun Moore gameball because he was getting it every game. His tough shots and presence is huge. I think you might be able to tell already that I love watching him play.
The Boilers have no time to celebrate the win. They travel to Columbus on Tuesday to face the #1 Buckeyes. I was at the top ten showdown last year in Columbus, but I think the Boilers have an even tougher test this year. They have the talent to win though.
I am going to cut this short since my Packers are now playing the Bears for the NFC crown. I will be working on the photo post as I watch the game.
Let me close by saying that as I write this a little after one o’clock in the afternoon I am close to breaking my single day record for this site. As always it amazes me how many people come here to read my drivel. Nonetheless I would like to thank everyone who has come over the last couple of days, and throughout the four plus years I have been blogging. I hope that I am getting better, and hopefully I will be blogging my way to Houston.