Indianapolis, IN – There were some early rumblings of a potential upset Monday night, but Purdue blew the game open in the second half to put that notion to rest and win easily, 80-53.
Darell Combs’s 14 points led IUPUI, but it came on 5-for-16 shooting with no assists and three turnovers. The rest of the team wasn’t much better though. Matt O’Leary and Jordan Pickett both scored in double figures, but combined to shoot just 8-for-19, and the IUPUI bench shot just 2-for-15.
Purdue shot quite well on the other hand (51.9 percent). A.J. Hammons led the Boilermakers in scoring with 14 points off the bench going a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor.
IUPUI’s only lead of the game came on the first possession, but they didn’t disappear after Purdue’s early surge. Down 22-14 after a Hammons jumper, Nick Osborne immediately answered with a 3-pointer and a few possessions later T.J. Henderson got to the rim to make it 22-19. IUPUI turned it over the next possession, but after a missed 3-pointer from Purdue, Osborne hit another 3-pointer to tie the game.
Purdue regained their form and went on a 12-0 run as IUPUI went scoreless for 5:16, but another run from IUPUI pulled them within four points, down 34-30 with 1:02 left in the half.
They went into the break down 38-30 and got within five points early in the second half after an O’Leary 3-pointer, but Purdue took over after that. They outscored IUPUI 33-7 over a 13-minute stretch to build their lead to 31 points snuffing out any glimmer of hope for IUPUI.
It’s difficult to take much away from this game for IUPUI. Purdue was favored by upwards of 20 points and won by 27, but there are a few things that stuck out. IUPUI hasn’t been great at getting to the free-throw line this year and only got 12 attempts against Purdue, but they made just half of them. Only a 3-for-10 performance at the line was worse for them this year.
The bench was abysmal. Bench points aren’t a very good measuring stick for a team as they often reflect opportunity as opposed to success, but Aaron Brennan played 23 minutes off the bench, T.J. Henderson played 19 minutes and Mason Archie played 22 minutes. Those three combined for three points on 1-for-12 shooting with three turnovers.
On the flip side IUPUI grabbed 13 offensive rebounds. While that could be attributed to their season-low 32.8 field-goal percentage, it also indicates they didn’t back down from the situation. That much was also evident when they fought back midway through the first half after they could easily have let the game get away at that point.
The good news for IUPUI is that they have their likely toughest game of the year out of the way. The bad news is they’re struggling through their non-conference schedule with a 3-7 record and still have six of their next seven games on the road including their next two. They’ll have two days off though before heading to Springfield, Missouri to take on Missouri State Thursday night.