Purdue basketball fans stayed in Mackey Arena until the very end of the game Saturday night, despite the fact that the game was far out of reach 6 minutes into the second half.
Purdue took it to Indiana winning 82-64.
The Boilermakers’ senior guard Sterling Carter showed a spark that’s been lacking for the team all season. Coming out of the second half, Carter scored Purdue’s first ten points, jumping the first half lead of five to 14.
Purdue played an excellent game on defense, forcing 14 turnovers, with 13 coming from Indiana’s starters. With Indiana’s motion offense Purdue switched and contested every shot.
Their defensive pressure led to three turnovers and six missed shots all in the first five minutes of the second half, resulting in the large Purdue lead.
The biggest worry that the Boilers bring to the table is their lack of ability to hit free throws. This game showed that head coach Matt Painter worked on that in practice this week. They shot 75.9 percent from the line. That is ten points higher than their season average.
The Boilermakers shot exceptionally well from the field finishing the night shooting 55.6 percent from behind the arc and 48.1 percent from the field.
Purdue however had its fair share of negatives during the game. They could not stay out of foul trouble resulting in 24 chances for Indiana to shoot from the line. They also turned the ball over 15 times.
This game showed that Purdue has a whole new way to play ball.
With a young team, Sterling Carter gives them a senior leader on the court. He isn’t always the best player on the court, but he is responsible and can teach the younger guys on the team how to play.
Purdue has a versatile bunch with freshman shooter Kendall Stephens, who also showed this weekend that he can play a bit of defense with three blocks.
A.J. Hammons helps fill the paint down low as an enforcer and a scorer.
Purdue has the talent to thrive in the Big Ten Conference and they showed that this past weekend, blowing out Indiana, who beat Michigan and Wisconsin.
They have to continue shooting well from the free throw line. That was one of the biggest weaknesses they showed earlier in the season until now.
The defense needs to be aggressive as such on Saturday forcing the turnovers and contest shots. Although they need to play smart and avoid fouls sending teams to the line.
Lastly, the Boilers have to take care of the ball. They will not win many games if they turn the ball over more than their opponent.
The team has a lot of talent for a young group of guys. They have a strong shooting ability, it just has to be more consistent. They surprised a few people beating Indiana the way they did. They have a bright future if they can fix up their act with ball handling and strong defense.
Coach Painter can get the best out of his players to produce a winning team. With the guys they have, you heard it here first, in a few years they will be a top five team in the Big Ten.