© Old Gold Free Press Columnists
BOX SCORE: (11) Purdue 66 - Coppin State 46
I don’t think there are too many positive things you can take away from tonight’s game. Yes, Purdue won handily and yes, they did it by basically shutting down Coppin State’s offense, but I think almost everyone connected with Purdue’s team is probably just breathing a sigh of relief that this game is a win. I thought Purdue was lethargic through much of the game and they made several mistakes on plays that they normally don’t make (13 turnovers). In addition, they shot the ball poorly from the field (38.2% for the game) and they were once again out-rebounded (41-38) by a team that was not that imposing size wise. Despite all that, they still held a commanding 66-36 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the game before a late flurry against Purdue’s subs made the final score 66-46.
Nemanja Calasan – Nemanja wasted no time scoring tonight as he had a nice basket after a good entry pass from E’Twaun Moore about 20 seconds after he entered the game. He ended the game with a solid 11 points, 4 rebounds and a turnover in 19 minutes of play. He’s now had games of 8, 9, 11 and 11 points in relief of JaJuan Johnson and he’s been very solid at both ends of the floor. Tonight he also made his only 3-point shot as the ball hit the rim about 5 times before finally falling.
Marcus Green – Marcus also wasted little time making a positive contribution tonight as he also had a basket and a defensive rebound after within the first minute or so that he was in the game. He ended the night with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal and 1 turnover in 20 minutes of play. Marcus now has scored 7, 6, 12 and 8 points in Purdue’s first 4 games and (much like Nemanja) continues to play very solidly at both ends of the floor.
Keaton Grant – Keaton had a relatively quiet game tonight with 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 turnover in 26 minutes of play. Tonight’s game is the 4th game in a row that Keaton has not attempted a single free throw and since he is perhaps Purdue’s best free throw shooter (last year he shot 85.1%), it looks to me like he needs to be more aggressive in taking the ball to the basket instead of settling for 3-point attempts.
Chris Kramer – Chris was also relatively quiet tonight with only 2 points (2 of 2 free throws), 2 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 steal and 1 turnover in 22 minutes. I did think Chris did a pretty good job defensively on their best player (Tywain McKee), but it didn’t seem to me that Chris was quite as active as he normally is.
Robbie Hummel – If you’ll recall, in Purdue’s last game against Loyola-Chicago, Robbie played 19 minutes and didn’t have a single rebound. Apparently, he was paying attention, because tonight he was a beast on the boards with 11 rebounds (just 1 off his career high). He also had 20 points and added 2 assists, 1 block and 1 turnover in 26 excellent minutes of play. In addition, Robbie only had 1 personal foul in those 26 minutes and I’m sure that was welcome news for Coach Painter.
JaJuan Johnson – JaJuan had a couple of really nice dunks tonight, but he missed a couple of easy jumpers and I didn’t think he played as well as he has been playing offensively. He ended the night with 6 points, only 1 rebound and a turnover to go along with 2 blocks and 2 steals at the defensive end in only 18 minutes of action.
E’Twaun Moore – E’Twaun played another really good all-around game tonight with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and 3 turnovers in 30 minutes of play. This was a night when E’Twaun’s shot wasn’t falling (he was 4 of 10 from the field including just 1 of 5 from 3-point range), but he contributed in a lot of other ways.
Lewis Jackson – I thought Lewis struggled a bit in the first half, but he came back and played much better in the 2nd half. He finished the night with 2 points (2 of 2 from the FT line), 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 2 turnovers in 21 minutes of play.
Ryne Smith – Ryne didn’t play quite as much tonight as he has in the earlier games (only 9 minutes) and he missed all 3 shots he took (all 3-pointers) and had a turnover in those minutes. I’d say he looks like he’s struggling right now, which is not unexpected from a freshman who is still learning how to play at this level.
To be honest, I was glad Purdue won this game easily because I was thinking before the game that this was a perfect time for a team to come into Mackey and do the same thing Wofford did last year. The reason I say that is because Purdue was coming off a stretch of 3 games that they had won easily, they had to have been looking ahead at least a little bit to going to New York and playing in Madison Square Garden and Coppin State is not exactly the type of team that they would be fired up to play. To me, this was a perfect “trap game” situation and I was happy to see Purdue handle the situation so well despite the fact that I don’t think they played all that well.
I’m not too familiar with Boston College, but I know they have been consistently good for quite some time under Coach Al Skinner and I think they will clearly be Purdue’s toughest test of the season so far. I think it’s going to very interesting to see how well Purdue handles the hoopla and attention associated with playing in the Big Apple. It will also be interesting to see whether or not Purdue’s defense can be as effective against a good team as it has been against their first 4 opponents. Nothing against any of them, but I’ll be surprised if any of them is in the NCAA field of 65. I think this is a great opportunity for these players to show everyone that Purdue basketball is back where it belongs and I hope they take advantage of it.