The Minute After: Purdue

  • 01/16/2024 9:47 pm in

Thoughts on an 87-66 loss to the Boilermakers: 

After Purdue dominated the rivalry for years, Mike Woodson had gotten the better of the Boilermakers so far in his tenure.

But tonight’s affair tipped the scales back in Matt Painter’s favor and then some. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Purdue’s 21-point victory was its largest in Bloomington since 1934, when Purdue beat Indiana by 34 (47-13).

Other than a jolt of energy out of halftime, where Indiana turned it up on both ends of the floor, this game belonged decidedly to the Boilermakers. The first half was an absolute masterclass, with the Boilermakers taking a commanding 51-29 lead. Purdue posted a blistering 1.41 points per possession for 51 points. The Boilermakers got to the line a ton on a 50 percent free-throw rate, taking 16 trips there and converting on 14 of ’em (87.5 percent). Purdue turned it over on just seven percent (four turnovers) of its possessions. It had three players in double digits at halftime. Zach Edey dominated, scoring 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Lance Jones hit 5-of-7 to drop in 13. Fletcher Loyer added 11 on 3-of-3 shooting, two coming from deep. The Boilermakers shot 50 percent from the floor (16-of-32), including 5-of-12 (41.7 percent) from 3-point range.

“To be able to come in here and be up 22 at the half, that’s a statement,” Matt Painter said after the game.

Indiana, on the other hand?

With Purdue packing the paint and daring Indiana to shoot 3-pointers, the results weren’t nearly as good. The Hoosiers hit just 2-of-12 from distance, with eight different players taking a crack at it. Mackenzie Mgbako got off to a hot start by scoring Indiana’s first seven points. But after picking up his second foul at the 15:30 mark, Mike Woodson yanked Mgbako from the game with the score at 9-7 in favor of Purdue. Less than two minutes later with 13:40 to go, Kel’el Ware picked up his second foul. Woodson substituted out Ware after Edey made his first free throw and the Boilermakers were up 13-9.

From there, Mgbako didn’t check back in until 3:33 remaining int the first half. Ware returned with 2:14 left. By that time, the Hoosiers were down 18 at 43-25, as Purdue ripped off a 30-16 run. With two key starters sitting for the majority of the first half and Woodson again choosing to auto-bench with two fouls, Purdue took advantage in a big way. This Indiana team isn’t good enough to let two starters sit that long and expect to compete for 40 minutes against a team as elite as the Boilermakers.

Mgbako played 18 minutes in the second half and finished the game with two fouls. Ware played 18 minutes in the second half and finished with three fouls.

“I probably should’ve played Mack a little bit more, even with the two fouls, but I elected not to do that,” Woodson said in his post-game press conference. “That’s hindsight. I hate coaching that way, thinking back to what I should’ve done.”

With tonight’s loss, Indiana misses a chance at a signature win to try and get something positive on its NCAA tournament resumé. It also falls back to No. 95 on KenPom, the second-worst team in the Big Ten per the site.

The Hoosiers are running out of chances to get into consideration for the post-season. Two more big shots are next: at Wisconsin and at Illinois. But adding everything up so far this season? It’s hard to envision this Indiana team getting the win in either of these two Big Ten road games.

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