This was a grudge match for the Illini after the Boilers took game one from them in Champaign just a few weeks ago, and they showed it all afternoon long. This game as Lavin said was like to brothers going at it in the back yard because Painter and Weber are so highly connected from their days at Purdue under the man himself, Keady. A win for Purdue set’s them up perfectly for an end of the season run for their first #1 seed since ’96. For Illinois the game meant keeping pace with Michigan State (and now Purdue) for the Big10 race and revenge.
The Fighting Illini where relentless in the first half, shooting the lights out from every where on the court and causing Purdue to shot close to their season low for field goal percentage at Mackey. And, how about McCamey and the job he did leading his team for the initial 20 minutes of the game, not making a single basket but dishing out 11 dimes. That is amazing, and even more amazing is the overall shooting by the Illini the entire game from down-town. At one point they were 8 of 10 and hit 6 straight matching everything Purdue would do at the other end. But, like the Lavin pointed out early in the game Illinois had to avoid there common stretch in the game where their offense took a nap and it just happen to plague them in the final 4:30 minutes. Whether it was the Boilers picking up their ball-hawking defense or just sloppy play the Illini couldn’t keep their rhythm till the end. Another key chip in the armor for the Fighting Illini was there lack of concentrated effort to take the ball to the hoop and draw contact. I saw maybe 4-6 attempts all game long, and the rest was settling for jump-shots. Even though the Illini where shooting like mad men it is important to drive the ball to get to the line, regardless of how bad they have been at the line this year.
What a proud time to bleed BLACK & GOLD in and out of the state of Indiana with the Boilers moving to an impressive 23-3 and 11-3 in the Big10. The shooting was absolutely horrendous for the first 30 minutes of the game, and the only thing which kept Purdue in the game was grit, hustle, and effort (The reason all Boiler fans are proud of their teams). Purdue won the battle on the boards 32-25, at the charity stripe 24 of 28 compared to 3 of 5, and at one point we were +14 in second chance points, and MOST importantly was the turn-over’s which we won 14 to 5! According to Lavin we had ONE turn-over in the last 24+ minutes of the game…..WOW! HUSTLE, hustle, hustle all day for what was a scrappy Purdue win. Amazingly the Boilers shot the same percentage from down-town as the Illini and hit more going 9 of 18 compared to 8 of 16. It’s weird but everyone: Grant, Moore, Hummel, and Hart all where hitting 3’s but no one could consistently hit the close range shots. Jujuan Johnson just had his worst game since our 3 game slide posting only 5 points and 6 rebounds. This is the first time we have won in the last 12 games without JJ scoring double digits, and a great sign because we can’t expect him to be a monster every night. Moore continued to play his excellent style of ball without what I feel is proper recognition scoring 18 and more importantly leading the team in dimes with 4. And, Hummel restoring faith after a disappearing act in the Ohio State win with 22 points and getting the player of the game award. However, my MVP for this game and for this week is none other then the senior guard Keaton Grant and his 15 point 6 of 6 free throw performance today. He is stepping it up at the right time for the Boilers and quite honestly playing like we all knew he could. COULD, he possibly be our fourth wheel and pivotal player to go the distance???? It’s great to see such a rotation being used with Ljack, Barlow, and Hart the last few games playing the one with the hotter hand. This is really adding to the depth of Purdue, a very key factoring we were missing early in the season. And of course I can’t end this without talking about my boy Chris Kramer. This kid is a true smash-mouth, ball-hawking, momentum shifter if I have ever seen one in Boiler Nation. Key plays for him was his hard-nosed drives to the basket using his muscle for the hoop, the 5 second defensive call at half court, and taking a monster hit to the body on a shoulder lowering pick…..did I forget to mention he dang near had his nose broken in the first half on one of his layups??? A true tough and gritty kid, and someone you just have to love unless you’re the other team.
Our first game next week is one we CAN NOT over look @ The Barn in Minnesota thinking about Sparty because the Badgers just got rocked in this place!
Boiler-Up and let’s keep the train rolling!