Rants, ravings, and somewhat sensical opinions following the wild, wacky, and wide-wide world of Purdue sports
With Christmas having come and gone, we’ve entered that strange partial week of work leading into New Year’s Eve. Days kinda mold into each other, and at some point I have to return to work, not sure exactly when. I personally have been feasting on Christmas leftovers, took a nap today… This week seems guideless following the holiday, and that is ok.
Purdue basketball was not guideless this week. They continued their winning ways, despite having a major piece of the puzzle be missing, making their already impressive start to the season that much more special.
The Game: New Orleans 53, #1 Purdue 74
The first time that Purdue has ever played a game in Mackey Arena as the #1 ranked team in the nation, provided the Boilers with an unexpected victory. Well, the victory was expected, really. How they achieved it was unexpected.
All-American candidate (and probably the best current basketball player in all of NCAA basketball) Zach Edey was sick, falling ill just a few moments before game time. Without the dominating center, what would Purdue do?
Trey Kaufman-Renn filled in at the 5 spot off the bench, scoring a dominant 24 points on 8 of 10 from the field. Mason Gillis added 11 points as the only other Boilermaker in double digit scoring. Stifling defense and well distributed scoring from the remaining Boilers who scored, led to a comfortable win against an overmatched opponent.
Break It Down:
This game was slow brewing early. Purdue trailed with less than 10 minutes to go in the half, and I was getting nervous. Purdue was missing their best player, playing poorly, in a shooting slump, on the same day where fellow 30pt favorite Iowa lost. I was seeing visions of home court upset fairies dancing in my head. Illogical? Maybe. In that very moment, at that very time, there was nothing that was going in Purdue’s favor.
Shortly after sending a message out to one of my various text group, Purdue went on a huge 18-0 run. Logic would tell me that Purdue’s talent was far too superior for me to be worried. That Purdue was going to put the game away, despite their struggles. I worry because I care. I am basically a Purdue helicopter parent.
A lot of the nightmares of years past still haunt me as a Purdue fan. They shouldn’t. Without their best player, while playing relatively poorly, the Boilermaker defense took over. This team is not your average Boilermaker team. They keep finding ways to get it done.
Lets be fair here, they did this to New Orleans, one of the worst teams in the nation. The comfortable win was expected, but how they got there was not. Now this team knows that they can win without Edey. That is a good thing.
What Went Well:
- Twenty Four: Points from Trey Kaufman-Renn not only led the team, but it was efficient and seemed effortless. With this performance, TKR is the third freshman on this team to score at last 20 points in a contest.
- Defense Lives Here: Giving up 53 points against any opponent is a tremendous showing. Despite being overmatched, there was some offensive firepower on this squad. Purdue did what they needed to do.
- 79.2%: From the free throw line will win you a lot of games. Going 19/24 is cashing in on the opportunities given to them.
New Orleans Photo Gallery: https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/Purdue-Mens-Basketball/22-23/NewOrleans/
Opportunities for Improvement:
- 26.3%: From three is yet again another poor shooting performance. The players can shoot, the looks are good. Why aren’t they falling? Water finds level, but currently this program is on low tide.
- 31.3%: Purdue’s season average from 3. We’re only 12 games in, but we are quickly approaching “mid-season.” At what point is that water going to find level?
Big Man on Campus:
Trey Kaufman-Renn stepped up when Purdue needed him. His 24 points were impressive, showing a dazzling array of footwork and spin moves. We knew that Purdue had a good one in TKR, and he finally got a chance to show us.
Check This Out!:
New ISC Photographer Austin Lancaster covered Purdue commit Myles Colvin this week. Austin will be providing imagery of various events going forward! Keep your eyes peeled!
A Look Ahead:
The top ranked Boilermakers continue on the light portion of the schedule, with one game this week. On Thursday, December 29th, Purdue will take on Florida A&M. This is a 5pm tip… which is 4 my time. Weekday, late afternoon tip-offs are always great for my work schedule.
As of the writing of this article, there is no moneyline posted for the game, but the ESPN matchup predictor has Purdue with a 99% chance of winning.
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