Matt Painter has just sent his entire team to the St. Vincent Sleep Disorders Center in Indianapolis because of suspected sleepwalking on January 5th in State College, Pennsylvania.
Okay, not really.
But the Boilers looked like a shell of themselves on Thursday night against Penn State. In a poor offensive and defensive effort, Purdue was shellacked by the Nittany Lions 65-45. Although giving up 65 points doesn’t appear to be a poor defensive effort, the Boilers allowed little known Billy Oliver to explode for 21 points on 7-11 three point shooting.
Not to take anything away from Penn State who played a great physical and strategic game, but Penn State didn’t play with any fire in the first half. In the second half, the Boilers picked up the slack for the first five minutes to cut the lead to four, but Penn State quickly responded and never looked back.
The story of the game was Penn State’s Tim Frazier. He was outstanding penetrating Purdue’s defense with the dribble drive and kicking the ball out to open teammates. He finished with 9 assists and 15 points. On defense, Frazier was very physical with Lewis Jackson and limited Jackson to zero points.
It was frustrating to watch Purdue’s defense predictably collapse on Frazier’s dribble to the paint and then leave open perimeter shooters. Billy Oliver exposed the Boilers by nailing 7 of 11 threes. Who is Billy Oliver? He was a janitor’s son that was called to fill-in for an injured Penn State player.
Okay, again, not really.
But Oliver only averaged 6.9 points per game before Thursday night. That didn’t stop him from shooting with extreme confidence. Oliver and a nameless Penn State squad looked like the favorite to win rather than the Boilers. They played great team defense switching from man-to-man and zone, and edged Purdue on the boards 35 to 25. Penn State even found its way to 10 offensive rebounds. Mind you, Penn State is a team that has no true center and its biggest starter is only 6-8 (sound familiar?).
On the offensive end, Purdue struggled the entire game. When Penn State played zone, the Boilers mostly settled for outside shots. When Penn State played man-to-man, Purdue looked sluggish moving without the ball and never created good shots. In fact, the whole team only finished with 10 assists.
The Nittany Lions did a good job staying in front of Purdue’s quickest players (Jackson and the Johnsons) and kept a close eye on Ryne Smith who shot a pultry 1-7 from behind the arc.
On the bright side, DJ Byrd played with a lot of energy and confidence. He scored 12 points and was feisty on the defensive end although he was called for 4 fouls in 23 minutes. Hummel looked like he was going to take over in the second half, but Penn State refocused in the second half and shut him down. He finished with a team high 14 points and 5 rebounds. Kelsey Barlow also looked good in spurts. He played the best defense on Tim Frazier and created a lot of shot opportunities by driving to the hole. He only finished with 8 points, but had the opportunity for a lot more if he could have finished at the rim.
Where does Purdue go from here? Well, I’d imagine up. I hope that this is rock bottom for this year’s Purdue team. The Boilers played with poor effort and allowed just two Big Ten wins to go to their head, which resulted in their 40 minutes of sleepwalking. Now let’s hope that Matt Painter can wake them up before their next road game on Sunday at Minnesota.