West Lafayette, IN – Coming into the game I was watching the #17 Michigan Wolverines choke against New Jersey Institute of Technology. That game ended right at tip off for the Purdue Boilermakers vs the North Florida Ospreys. Once it was over I made a tweet saying how I was concerned about this being a possible trap game for the Boilers. The Wolverines probably thought that N.J.I.T. would roll over just at the sight of the name on the jersey. I am not saying that is what Purdue did today but it sure looked like it.
Some will remember the 2007-08 season where a Purdue team led by the freshman Baby Boilers lost to Wofford over Christmas break in a similar fashion. Purdue really had no reason to lose this game especially when the Ospreys biggest player fouls out with 13 minutes to go in the second half. All of the fans sitting around me were screaming to throw the ball inside to take advantage of the huge size mismatch Purdue had in the post. Unfortunately, the Boilers on the court were unable to feed the post and had to start chucking up three pointers and contested jump shots. Purdue missed 39 shots in the second half alone if that tells you anything about how poor of a shooting performance this was. Purdue finished shooting 29-74 for a miserable 39.2% and a hideous 4-19 from behind the arc. The only player that shot better than 50 percent from the floor was Isaac Haas but he almost disappeared in the second half by only making one shot in the final 20 minutes. Dakota Mathias was 0-6, Vince Edwards was 2-8, P.J. Thompson was 3-9 and Kendall Stephens was 2-7, if that isn’t the definition of couldn’t hit the ocean while standing on the beach, I d0n’t know what is.
At this point I am getting close to being able to copy and paste previous articles in the two areas that really hurt Purdue again today. Free throws and turnovers will be the end of this team. From the line Purdue shot 8-16 but missed crucial front ends of the one and one attempts when in reality is almost like missing two free throws. In the first half, Purdue finished with 11 turnovers but they were able to bring that number back under control by only committing an additional three but finishing with 14 is still an issue.
I have to believe that one of the only reasons Purdue was still leading this game for a majority of the time was the great effort on the offensive glass. Purdue finished with 24 offensive rebounds. However, a lot of those were putbacks that Purdue simply couldn’t finish. Head coach Matt Painter said in his press conference afterwards that “everything that could go wrong in the last 2 minutes went wrong.” I don’t think Purdue will have this kind of performance again but this is a long season and there are still five non-conference games remaining and Purdue needs to really strive to be at least 4-1 at the end of that if they want to go into conference play with a shot at dancing in March.
Purdue has no choice but to learn from this humbling loss. The 2007 team that lost to Wofford was able to take a shaky non-con and turn it in a very successful season that led to the second round of the NCAA tourney. Octeus and Haas were very clear about what happened after the game, “we came out dead and we weren’t focused and that’s what cost us the game.” The Boilers have a chance to get the bad taste out of their mouth when they host the IPFW Mastadons on Monday. I fully expect Purdue to come out with a little anger and put them away quickly to get back on the right track.
Nick Konkel is the Purdue Athletics Correspondent for Indiana Sports Report. You can follow him on Twitter @nkonkel and Indiana Sports Report @IndySportsRep