Last night the Boilers had an off night, but still came away with the 67-53 win over Indiana. The win was important for many reasons. One of them is that it is IU. Anytime you win against them in any sport it is big. The second is that it was JaJuan Johnson’s 22nd birthday. You like to see the big guy win on his birthday. The best feature of the win though is the fact that it was the 100th win for E’Twaun Moore and JJ in a Purdue uniform. It was a great game that I was glad to see.
I almost didn’t make it to the game. As I was driving down from Northwest Indiana I had made great time coming into the town of Brookston. I came up to the town’s stoplight which was red. I went to hit my brakes but the light changed as I did. I realized that they felt a little soft. I figured that I would have to get them looked at. As I approached West Lafayette the light changed by the McDonald’s. I went to brake to stop, and the pedal went to the floor. I had absolutely no brakes! I hit the e-brake to stop at the light, but then I figured out that this car was not going to make it through gameday traffic especially since I was running late. Luckily my brother lives in West Lafayette so I limped the car to his house, and got a ride to the game. I was a little late which is weird for me. I made it inside just before the four minute TV timeout. I really wasn’t focused on the game when I got in because I had a lot of questions about my car. It turns out my brake booster was leaking, and I lost all my brake fluid. It is not a hard fix, but you don’t want to find out your brakes are out at 50 MPH. It did get my adrenaline going before the game though.
It didn’t take long though for me to get into the game. It is IU and Purdue after all. Purdue really did not look good to me last night. I don’t think that it was anything that IU was doing that made them look bad. They missed a bunch of bunnies with nobody on them. A lot of open looks that normally go down were not. It was those missed shots that kept the game close early.
Lewis Jackson must have held court before I came in because he had 6 points as I sat in my seat. He really uses his explosive ability to get him to the basket. He is fun to watch when he is aggressive. I would love to see some more of that from him. He is fun to watch on defense, and his offense is a huge bonus. His biggest assist on the night might have been after the game when he took a birthday sign from a fan and gave it to the birthday boy JJ. Of course the media went crazy with their cameras, and it would never have happened if LewJack had not grabbed the sign.
Kelsey Barlow is becoming my favorite player game by game. He just seems to do all the little things that keep the team in the game. Early on he was getting into Jordy Hulls head. He plays great defense every game. He has some lapses, but so did Chris Kramer. He seems to be making better decisions on offense as well. He had a couple nice passes in transition that led to points. He also has the big dunk capability. He tried one last night from just in front of the free throw line with a man on him. I don’t think he ever was going to get to the rim, but he thought he would. Luckily he was fouled on the play. He only scored three points on the night, but he pulled down eight boards, had four assists, and had three steals. His lone basket was a pull up jumper that nobody in the arena thought that he had.
Patrick Bade got the crowd going by nailing a jumper. That was only his fourth point in Big Ten play. He really does knock his opponent around though. If we need to give someone a bloody lip he is the guy to call in the game.
What more can you say about JJ? He had fifteen points, eight boards, and four blocks on his 22nd birthday. When you are disappointed that a guy only scored 15 in a Big Ten game you know that you are dealing with a special player. He had an off night with his shot, but he still finds ways to impact the game.
Let’s talk about this Jordan Hulls kid. Throughout the game I started hating him more and more. He seemed to think he was at a dribbling competition instead of a basketball game. That being said he really does play a good game. If he had any size he would be really dangerous. I don’t usually dislike players who aren’t any good (the exception is Mirkovic from Northwestern) so that means that this kid must have something. He did do a good job of creating for others. I think he would be even better if he dribbled just a little less.
IU seems to be an improved team, but they are far from great. The pieces seem to be falling into place. I read an awful lot last night about how IU would have won if they had their two stars. If you can have both of them back can we have Robbie Hummel? I would take Robbie over the two who are out. By the way can’t the IU fans see that they seem to be playing better without those two guys? It is kind of like how Notre Dame played better ball after they lost Harangody last season. As I predicted I heard five banners being shouted by a kid who was not alive to see any of them. He was the one yelling that Johnson sucks as he was shooting his free throws. That makes him stupid on two accounts. The fans started getting on him for yelling at Johnson and he broke out the five banners line. Of course that will shut up the Purdue fans. I don’t hear Cubs fans bragging about their World Series titles. That is because they were so long ago they are no longer relevant. At some point you have to look at what you have now instead of what you had. What Purdue has now is second place in the Big Ten with some tough games coming up.
One real negative from the game I thought was all the IU fans in the house. I know that they are an instate school so Purdue fans will bring their buddies who are IU fans to the game. I understand that. I have come to Mackey with IU fans before. While that explains some of the IU fans it can’t explain all of them in the lower bowl. It seemed like a large amount. I guess with all the rising costs of tickets you have to make money where you can.
Play of the game – This one is easy I think. After an over the back call was blown on the defensive end Kelsey Barlow made a great steal to get the Boilers going in transition. He was almost on the ground, but kept the dribble, and the ball moving down the court. He drove the lane and kicked out to Smooge on the wing for a three attempt. E’Twaun’s three hit off the front of the rim and bounced straight up. The ball came back down on the back of the rim, and bounced back into the air. It finally came down through the net for a three that put the Boilers up 25-18. This really got the crowd back into the game, and gave the Boilers the cushion they would have for the rest of the half.
I almost gave the play of the game to the fans. After a nice Purdue run that led to an Indiana timeout it was time for Hail Fire. If you have been in Mackey before you know that the students end the song with “IU Sucks.” It may not be classy, but it is fun for sure. Last night it seemed as if about 12,000 of the 14,123 yelled at the proper time. It was amazing, and a little fun as well with the team in the house.
Gameball – This has to go to E’Twaun. He really did not score at the start of the game. He started his night off after IU had taken the lead. He nailed two straight three’s to give Purdue the lead when they needed a lift. He kept it going after that to end up with a game high 25 points. He now sits just fifty points shy of 2,000 for his career. It would be nice to see him have a big game against the Illini so that he can get his 2,000th point against Wisconsin at home. He also started his 126th game to break Brian Cardinal’s Purdue record. He has a few more games ahead of him to pad that total.
Pictures from the game will be a little late coming as I am in West Lafayette still. I don’t have my adapter to upload the pictures to my computer with me. I hope to have them up by tomorrow. I still don’t know if I took any good ones so we will see.