© Old Gold Free Press Columnists
BOX SCORE: (11) Purdue 87 - Eastern Michigan 58
Purdue got off to a slow start in tonight’s game and trailed Eastern Michigan 8-0 after about 3 minutes. Then, after a time out to remind the players that it was going to take more than just showing up for the game to actually win it, Purdue settled down and proceeded to blow Eastern Michigan out of Mackey Arena. The key to Purdue’s domination was once again a smothering, suffocating defensive effort that forced 14 Eastern Michigan turnovers in the first half. At the half, the score was Purdue 42, Eastern Michigan 22. Eastern Michigan started the 2nd half by making 5 of their first 7 shots, only to look up at the scoreboard and find themselves in a 54-32 hole following a Robbie Hummel 3-pointer. From here, Purdue seemed to relax and both teams were able to play just about everyone on the roster and the final score was Purdue 87, Eastern Michigan 58.
Nemanja Calasan – Nemanja continues to be impressive coming off the bench with solid efforts at both ends of the floor. Tonight he scored 9 points (on 4 of 6 shooting) and added 6 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 turnover in 20 minutes. If Nemanja can maintain this kind of effort and enthusiasm he’ll be a key contributor for this year’s team.
Marcus Green – Marcus also played extremely well for the 2nd straight game. In the past, one of the trademarks of Marcus’s game was his up and down production, but so far this year he has been very solid. Tonight, he helped spark Purdue’s first half surge by being very active at both ends of the floor. He finished with 6 points, 6 rebounds and 2 turnovers in 14 minutes of play and I think he brings toughness inside at the defensive end that helps Purdue greatly.
Keaton Grant – I think Keaton is struggling a little bit to find his shot. Tonight he was open a couple of times from the corner and just missed shots that he normally makes. He did have one 3-pointer where he squared up, took his time and buried it, but it was the only one. Keaton ended the game with only 5 points (on 2 of 9 shooting), 1 rebound, 2 assists and 1 turnover in 26 minutes of play. My guess is that it’s taking Keaton some time to find his legs after undergoing off-season surgery and I think he’s going to eventually be fine.
Chris Kramer – Chris was simply outstanding in the first half when he scored all 10 of his points and led a smothering Purdue defensive effort. He finished the game with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals and 1 turnover in a team high 28 minutes of play. He also took a nasty fall coming down with a contested rebound in the2nd half and appeared to bang his head pretty hard. He seemed to shake it off, but he didn’t play much after that.
Robbie Hummel – Robbie had a little trouble getting going tonight offensively, but once he did he was pure dynamite. He ended the night with 18 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the floor (4 of 6 from 3-point range) and 3 of 3 at the line. He added 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 turnover in only 20 minutes of action and the best part of his effort for me was that he stayed out of foul trouble. Robbie is now 6 of 8 from beyond the arc for the season and it appears that the longer 3-point line will not be an issue for him.
JaJuan Johnson – JaJuan played another very good game tonight for Purdue with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 20 minutes of play. Like he did in the opening game, JaJuan scored in a number of different ways and he’s taking advantage of his quickness and agility to find ways to score.
E’Twaun Moore – E’Twaun was very, very impressive tonight and it looked almost as if he could score whenever he wanted to. He ended the night with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 2 turnovers in only 21 minutes of play. One of his assists was a fast break, bounce pass between two defenders to a streaking Lewis Jackson for an easy lay-up that brought the entire crowd to their feet.
Lewis Jackson - For the 2nd straight game Lewis put on a dazzling display of handling the basketball and making intelligent passing decisions in both half-court and full-court situations. Time after time he would penetrate the lane and either get to the basket for a shot or (more often) find a team-mate open underneath for an easy lay-up. Lewis finished the game with 6 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 1 turnover in 25 minutes of impressive play. For my money, Lewis is worth the price of admission all by himself and the crowd has already embraced him by chanting “Lew, lew, lew” every time he makes a play. For the record, Lewis has now played 48 minutes of Division I college basketball with 8 assists and only 1 turnover. Not a bad start for a freshman!!
Ryne Smith – Ryne saw some extended action tonight (16 minutes) and scored 3 points and added 2 rebounds and 1 assist. It seemed to me he rushed a couple of shots, but when he gets set and doesn’t rush, he is a deadly shooter. It looks to me like he will help Purdue this year, particularly if the other team is playing a zone defense.
After the game, my wife and I decided to stick around and watch Loyola play Georgia for a few minutes. When we left the game was tied at 14, but I must say I wasn’t surprised when I saw in the paper this morning that Loyola had won the game. Georgia seemed to have some nice players, but their offense had little movement and it looked to me like Loyola had a much more effective game plan. I think Loyola will give Purdue a better game tonight than Georgia would have.
In closing, let me also say that watching this year’s Purdue team play is a real joy. They not only play hard, they play smart and they might be the best Purdue team I’ve ever seen when it comes to sharing the basketball. We’ll see what happens when the competition gets tougher, but I really like what I’ve seen so far from this group.