The Minute After: Purdue

  • 02/04/2010 10:01 pm in

This team has a way of keeping things interesting.

Twice in the second half, I thought the Hoosier were toast. Down five and looking out of sync with 8:42, all it took was Devan DumesĀ and Jordan Hulls threes with a Verdell Jones jumper in between, and all of a sudden the Hoosiers were up three.

Then, down six with just over a minute to play — when things really seemed to be over — there was Mr. Clutch VJ3 popping in a three. Add in a lockdown man-to-man defensive set by the Hoosiers, and Jordan Hulls chasing down the rebound in the corner after a Purdue miss, and suddenly the Hoosiers held their fate in their hands.

Oh, and lest you thought it was over after Chris Kramer came up with that huge block on on VJ3 — and it was a pretty clean block, in my eyes — and Robbie Hummel, one of the best free throw shooters in the land nailed two shots to put Purdue up five, there was VJ3 with another three. And there was Hummel at the line again — the best free-throw shooter in the Big Ten, mind you — missing the front end of his two free throws, setting up one last chance for VJ3 to play the hero’s role.

He got a good look. But it just missed to the left side of the rim. Another heartbreaker. Another one where these Hoosiers came within a fraction of a terrific win.

So it goes this season.

What really killed the Hoosiers was free throws. No, not in the first half, as they were nearly flawless, hitting 11-of-13. But it was when they mattered the most that the Hoosiers came up short. Three times in the last five minutes, the Hoosiers missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity. You just can’t let that happen for a team that doesn’t have a large margin of error.

But other than that, these Hoosiers played quite well against the No. 8 team in the country. A team that’s now in their third year with that vaunted class of talent. Coming out and putting up 47 points in the first half — the most points they scored in a half all season — was something to behold. And a big part of it was due to Tom Pritchard’s effort. Where has this guy been all season? It wasn’t just on those designed slip screens that he scored; Pritchard also made some moves in the paint with authority. He had 13 points at half. (His grandma passed away last evening; he seemed inspired to play well for her tonight.) IU also shot a blistering 51.6 percent from the floor in the first half to aid in that lead.

And most importantly, they took care of the ball. Only five turnovers in the first half, to Purdue’s six. The Boilermakers are seventh in the country in offensive turnover percentage; they are 19th-best in the country in defensive turnover percentage. So that’s a terrific effort by Indiana in that regard, and it’s a trend that followed in the second half: The Hoosiers had 10 turnovers on the night, while Purdue had nine.

The Hoosiers benefited from active hands in the passing lanes and some opportunistic swipes at the ball, they had seven steals on the night. It allowed them to score 19 points off of turnovers, to best Purdue’s 11.

Credit Purdue for coming out in the second half, and scoring on their first three possessions. This is what veteran teams do. Credit Purdue for locking down more on defense in the second half after being a bit lapse in the first half, and imposing their will on the Hoosiers with some blocks in the lane. Credit Hummel for not wilting under the pressure and hitting three of those four free throws late. Credit Purdue for holding on to this victory in a place they hadn’t won in ten years, a place that was as loud at its been all season.

Some day, I will tip my cap in a similar fashion to these young Hoosiers. They will hold off the scrappy, never-say-die, young up-and-comers in the Big Ten at some point in the years to come.

But for this night, and in this season, they’re still on the wrong side of experience.

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  • aceman07

    Okay. Yeah the opening 5 minutes of the second half was the only period of time that IU lost on the scoreboard. I like to try to break down the game by looking at the periods of time between TV timeouts and seeing if we won that period before the break. It's sort of the baseball guy coming out in me. I used to preach winning every inning and IU definitely lost that inning in that game!

  • Diesel

    Call it “the wall”, call it something, there is something there. On one hand, he still went for 9 and 8 as a freshman against a future NBA player in JaJuan, but on the other hand there does appear to be something missing. He's got that personality that almost comes across as not trying, hopefully it's more of something we can nickname “smooth”.

    He had a real bad series there for 2 min in the 2nd half before Crean finally pulled him. He tweaked his ankle, then dribbled off his leg in the corner, then lost Hummel in the corner on the zone, and then there was something else. And then the weak put back off the missed one and one at point blank, falling away. Dang.

    Something needs to happen to his shot too, and I don't mean changing the mechanics. I think it is just a slow and predictable release. This guy gets his shot blocked more than anyone I've ever seen. Anyone ever see a shot fake? Not that I can recall. How about some post moves? Up and under? Baby hook? Drop step?

    Bottom line – he's got the tools to become a dominent force in the Big Ten and play at the next level. By next year, I'd like to see Watford put on 20 pounds, get quicker, and take on somewhat of a warrior mentatlity

  • widget

    I'm referencing the opening minutes of the second half. I don't know what's in the Gatorade in the locker room, but it is putting our guys to sleep! IU just isn't good enough to withstand the disappearing acts we seem to be so prone to reliving. I put that on the shoulders of bad point play and laziness offensively. JR, CW primarily.

  • widget

    True, JR can breakdown a defense off the dribble, but a double-pump reverse layup is not the answer. Lavin said as much himself. JR over did it. He has the experience to know better and it hurt the team. I'll take his grit, his FT improvement and great D, but he should have a better BBall IQ in those situations.

  • Hoosiers02

    Sheehey looked good. He can score as well as drive to the basket.

    Did anyone get a chance to see Austin Rivers play on ESPN2 last night? Wow, that kid is a scorer. He dropped 41. Any prayer he ends up a Hoosier? They made comments that he is verbally commited to Flordia, but he has taken recent visits to Duke. So I'm not sure he 100% commited to the gators.

  • Kelin Blab


    Here is my Sheehey review…

    + Has a very balanced game. Good shooter, likes to drive to the basket and spent a lot of time at the F/T line.
    + Has a decent handle, should improve on that, and goes to the glass.
    + What I like the most, not afraid of contact and is a good good athlete. When he steps on campus he will be one of IU's top 3 athletes.

    + His team played half the game in zone however Sheehey is an “all arms” active guy. His on ball pressure allowed him a few times to poke away the ball from the offensive guy.
    + PLays good position basketball and seemed to be in good position to help
    + Has to work on some foot speed

    Sheehey helps IU possibly next year by:
    + A strong rebounding wing
    + can guard the 2 or 3
    + Can stretch the defense with his shooting but also a strong driver.
    + More polished offensive game than VO

  • Kelin Blab

    I was surprised to hear that Duke comment myself. I would think if he decommitted he may give IU a look. OH MY GOD I WISH HE WOULD….

  • Sorry to burst your bubble, but I keep hearing he's a lock for Duke.

  • Kelin Blab

    One more reason to hate Duke.

  • Hardwood83

    Maybe he was tired- he wasn't wide open like the 1st half. TP doesn't really create his own shot so is dependent on penetration or defensive break-downs. I agree about Watford, he has the tools but not the confidence or consistency yet. The good news is look at VJ3, he is the best player on this team and early last year I never would have guessed that. Let's hope CC can develop the rest of these youngsters (especially some big men) like that and we're in business.

  • JerryCT

    Thanks for the update. I really appreciate it.

    After watchign Knight and Rivers last night I can say I would NOT want to play with either of them…………they hog the ball and the attention ……….this destroys the work output from other players as they get disappointed in not being intensely invloved. Both kids have skills but one skill neither have is making other players better……………that is what Irving is very good at.

  • valpohistory

    Kramer carries himself like a jackass. Walton did not. I loved Walton's game

  • valpohistory

    I'm with you. People have really bashed Pritchard and said he has digresssed. I am in the minority who feels he has improved. He isn't asked to be the leading scorer anymore so he has turned into a “glue guy” for this team that does all of the little things. He is HUGE and when he sets screens, people get smashed, ala Kramer. He stays on the court, we are a much better team. Good post.

  • valpohistory

    I agree with all points except number 3. Even VJ said he should've just hammered it home. He dunks that basketball on that play, there is an outstanding chance we win that game. The block was a complete momentum changer. It was a four point swing if I remember correctly

  • valpohistory

    I thought he did some really good things in his minutes. He came in, had a beautiful box-out leading to a rebound. They came down, he almost got his hands on a rebound, then he altered JJ's shot, almost pulled down another board. Then they come down, Dumes pops a fast three that Bawa, STILL almost pulls down. Someone gets sent to the line, Bawa boxes the crap out of his man, but Cwat doesn't and Bade pulls down a rebound and Bawa couls him. I think his minutes were highly productive. He saved a foul to another of the big men, and he also did some nice things at the defensive end. If our players continue to develop like they have, Bawa doesn't have to be a offensive presence. If he can be, dare I say it, like Hasheem Thabeet was at UCONN, we would have a special player on our hands. Thabeet was VERY raw as well when he was at UCONN his first two years then really turned it on. Bawa does nice things, give him time

  • Newms the Sage

    Watford is solid, but slow. yes he is slow and has missed 'how many' offensive rebound put-backs?! THE best recruit in the Hoosier arena would be Josh Selby – he is stellar. for all those out there thinking Teague – get real he is way over-rated!

    I guess I am spoiled and have high expectations for players. Purdue sux! They should be embarassed for their mediocre play against IU – NO WAY will they make the Final 4 (period).

    I have been following minor league hockey, it is much more enjoyable than college hoops this year.