IU Dominates Purdue/ written by Evan Williams
After suffering their first loss to Indiana earlier this year for the first time since 2008, Purdue was looking to upset the 18th ranked Hoosiers on their Senior Night. After a very poor shooting performance in the first half, the Boilers (20-11, 10-8 B1G) were unable to overcome the Hoosiers (24-7, 11-7) as they lost 85-74 at Assembly Hall. The win for Indiana marked the first time the Hoosiers have swept Purdue since the 2005-06 season.
The difference in the game came down to the shooting for both teams. Indiana played excellent basketball and shot an outstanding 66.7% from the field in the first half. The Hoosiers also went 8 of 14 from three. Purdue shot 36.4% from the field in the first half and finished with 43.8% for the game. Tonight was just a night where it seemed everything Indiana threw at the basketball went in and Purdue could not have bought a bucket. A fast paced game, Indiana raced out to a big lead early and took a 49-34 lead into half time. The game did not change coming out of the intermission as Indiana continued its great shooting display.
Christian Watford led Indiana with 19 points and Will Sheehey scored 16. Cody Zeller scored 13 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and blocked two shots for the Hoosiers. The Hoosiers five seniors: Kory Barnett, Verdell Jones III, Daniel Moore, Tom Pritchard, and Matt Roth all saw playing time on Senior Night.
Purdue put five players in double figures with Lewis Jackson leading the way with 17 points. Robbie Hummel scored 16 and pulled down eight rebounds. Terone Johnson added 13 while Ryne Smith and D.J. Byrd scored 12 points each. The Boilers just could not seem to get it together early on and were unable to be effective from long range, shooting 8-21 from three.
I would not say that the Boilermakers did not play well on defense; they just were unable to get as more scoring opportunities as Indiana had. No one from Indiana got into any foul trouble and the Boilers only had 13 attempts from the line compared to the Hoosiers 25. Purdue actually turned the ball over less than Indiana, with 10 turnovers compared to the Hoosiers 12. Without a true inside scoring threat, Purdue was forced to shoot the ball where they had been struggling all game.
Purdue made a late run in the second half, and got the score to 77-71 but were running out of time. Indiana went on to hit eight of ten free throws to end the game.
It was disappointing to see Purdue lose to Indiana twice in one year, especially after the Boilermakers recent dominance in the series. The Purdue and Indiana rivalry is coming back into the form where it is one of the best in the country. Both teams are getting better and both have great recruits coming in. One thing that bothers me is the talk that Indiana had so much of a better year than Purdue and that Purdue had an awful season. If you look at it this way, had Purdue not dropped the three out of conference games, they would have the same record as IU. As far as how the season went, I’d say it is safe to say that when you lose your two best players that are NBA draft picks, you might have some sort of a drop off. Indiana lost no one significant from last year’s team, and they added a great player in Cody Zeller. I also do not think that Indiana fans should forget about the recent terrible seasons they had such as their 6-25 season in 2009. As much as I despise Indiana athletics and a good majority of the fans I encounter, I do have respect for the school and the knowledgeable fans out there.
With the conclusion of the regular season, the Big Ten Tournament is now upon us. Sixth seed Purdue will take on 11th seeded Nebraska; a team the Boilers recently pounded 83-65, on Thursday. The game will be televised on ESPN 2.