Maybe it was the half-hearted Jimmy Buffet theme on Tuesday night, but Purdue came out sluggish in the first half against pesky Iowa. The Boilers trailed by as many as 11 in the first 20 minutes and went into the break facing a 36-31 deficit.
Purdue re-focused for the final minutes of the first half and that momentum carried over into the second half. A renewed energy led to easier baskets, more offensive rebounds (14 total), and defensive pressure that limited the Hawkeyes to just 32 points in the final 20 minutes. In addition, the Boilers outrebounded Iowa by a 38-27 margin and forced 13 turnovers.
A common theme in Purdue’s Big Ten wins so far is the play of its bench. Particularly 6th man Terone Johnson and 6-9 sophomore center Travis Carroll stepped up against the Hawkeyes. Johnson played with a lot of confidence attacking the rim. He scored 10 points with 5 boards and his penetration created opportunities for other Boilers. Travis Carroll played 31 solid minutes for Purdue where he kept his defensive assignments, grabbed five rebounds, and made 3-3 FGs and 2-2 FTs (8 total points).
Not to be outdone, Robbie Hummel grabbed 11 rebounds despite just a 1-6 night from behind the arc. He was able to draw fouls though and hit mid-range shots for a total of 17 points.
Senior Lewis Jackson had an incredibly efficient 20 minutes. He drove to the lane for 14 points where he made acrobatic layups look like routine finger rolls. He had 3 boards, 3 assists, and 1 steal while performing a few highlight-worthy plays. Even though he’s suffering from back pains and spasms, he plays with amazing energy and competitiveness.
Since Purdue’s home winning streak was reset against Wisconsin, the Boilers have started a new winning streak. This one could be difficult to maintain though as ranked Michigan visits on January 24th and top 15 rival Indiana will be in Mackey on February 4th. The road games won’t be a walk in the park either: at Michigan State, at Northwestern, and at Ohio State are all on tap.