Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Purdue rolls 81-56 with balanced scoring

It's tough to be comfortable with any lead for a Purdue fan this year, but this game was never really in doubt.

Purdue did what it needed to do. It got the win, gained some confidence, and probably the most important thing in a game like this - didn't get anyone injured.  The Boilers, who extended their home winning streak to 25 games, headed a balance attack with six players in double-figures.  D.J. Byrd and Anthony Johnson led Purdue off the bench with 11 points. Robbie Hummel, Ryne Smith, Kelsey Barlow, and Lewis Jackson all had 10 points.

I think this balance is needed going forward. With two veterans, one who is battling back spasms and the other coming off two ACL tears, it is important for other guys to step up to help conserve their energy as much as possible. I thought Painter balanced Lewis Jackson's and Robbie Hummel's minutes well tonight. Hummel was only on the floor for 21 minutes and Jackson only logged 15 minutes. It was crucial for Jackson to not get further injured than he already is. With the amount of minutes he played, this was almost impossible. He does hit the floor too often, though. Not sure if it is a product of him trying to draw contact his entire career that it is almost an acquired habit to hit the floor or not. Maybe he is actually getting hacked - I can't tell.

Everything looks good when Purdue is knocking down shots and that's what it was doing tonight. It wasn't just knocking down shots, though. Hummel had two really nice drives to the basket early in the first half. Something that he needs to do more of going forward. Sometimes he is too reliant on his jumper and when its not falling (Butler), Purdue suffers. That rebound dunk to end the half was pretty cool, especially for someone coming off two knee surgeries. Anthony Johnson was another player that didn't just settle for outside shots. He had a couple nice floaters in the lane and was a recipient of a great pass from Terone Johnson for two as well. It looked to me that Anthony had something to prove, for the lack of playing time he was given during the Butler game. I think you proved your point, Anthony.

Travis Carroll played 26 minutes - the most of any Purdue player - with Sandi Marcius out due to injury. With all the criticism he has received this year he played well. He had a nice rebound and put-back off a missed free throw and also made what looked like a little hook shot in the second half. Obviously it was IPFW he was playing against and not Michigan State, but he played well.

With Maricus out, Jacob Lawson got his first start of his career. He started off emphatically with a two-handed slam off a screen. But what has plagued Lawson the entire year - too many fouls - earned him a spot on the bench again just five minutes into the game. His energy and athleticism is great, and much needed for Purdue, but he needs to know when to attack and when to back off. He is a freshman. He will learn.

Kelsey Barlow, who shot 4-5 from the field and had six rebounds, is quietly becoming one of Purdue's best players. We all know he can get to the rack almost whenever he wants, but he has proved recently that his shot has improved from last year and because of this, opponents might not be able to sag off him as much around the perimeter.

In case you didn't see the dunk, here it is.

Purdue starts Big Ten play at Iowa on the 28th.

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