Purdue put on a show tonight. A lot of credit goes to Matt Painter for having an excellent game plan for the hated Hoosiers. The Boilers were executing at a good-but-not-great rate on the offensive end, scoring 83 points at a 58.7 percent rate. Defensively, Rapheal Davis and Bryson Scott led Purdue with an absolutely dominant and suffocating effort.
Everyone's talking about A.J. Hammons' unbelievable career high; eight blocked shots is pretty incredible. But more credit should go to Davis, who is emerging as a glue guy and strong leader for Purdue. He led the team in scoring with 19 points. Five rebounds, a block and a steal can be added to his impressive outing.
|Photo belongs to Rivals.com|
And Basil Smotherman - we can't forget him. The sophomore is Purdue's most athletic player and continues to blossom. Eight points isn't eye-popping, but his explosive transition buckets helped the Boilers build a strong early lead that they would never relinquish.
So not only did Purdue do what it had to do...it had some help from fans who brought it at a level that hasn't been seen in years. Boiler Nation loves beating Indiana, and it loves beating the stuffing out of them even more. The Paint Crew was magnificent. From the giant flag during player introductions to a constant roar that bounced from Mackey Arena's tin roof, the students did everything they could to help this team along.
The rest of the crowd (myself included) spent most of the game on its feet. Indiana had one run to get within ten in the second half, but Purdue quickly erased doubt with another flurry. The faithful fans in black upped the building's decibel level again and again as the Boilers put away the Hoosiers.
The thing I loved most came after the final buzzer sounded, when a pumped Hammons was tackled by Isaac Haas, a freshman from Alabama who didn't seem to know much about the rivalry before tonight. I think this team is starting to grow and develop together as a unit. With the leadership Purdue's juniors are showing, maybe this team can do better than we thought.
The Boilermakers are now No. 5 in the Big Ten with almost half of the conference season over. There's a tough test ahead Saturday at Northwestern; the Wildcats have lost a ton of heartbreaking games this season but are looking to pull through as soon as possible.
Purdue might be doing that now. At least, I hope so. In the meantime, I'll try to recover from Mackey Voice.
Let's keep this ball rolling.
P.S. That video on the right was a thing once.