The Purdue Boilermakers basketball team has eked out a 3-0 start this season. They appear to be an improved team over last season, but the lapses are still there.
Last week, Purdue dominated Central Connecticut State but then struggled a few days later against Rider. Against CCS, everything clicked for the Boilers. They scored 109 points and were getting it done on both sides of the ball.
Purdue struggled all over the court against Rider. The Broncs shot nearly 48-percent from the three point line, and despite a being at a height disadvantage managed to out-rebound Purdue. Most of that had to do with AJ Hammons getting into foul trouble in the opening three minutes of the game. He had just a block and rebound in the first half. He is still easily frustrated and sloppy on defense.
The Boilers were also just 3-for 15 from the three point line. Its a growing trend in West Lafayette, as Purdue is connecting on just 35-percent of its shots from the arc.
There are a few bright points in the win over Rider.
Transfer Sterling Carter came off the bench and gave Purdue big minutes. He put up 13 points and keyed the Boiler rally. Without his effort, the team would have lost.
After these two games, it’s clear that free throw shooting is a problem. They were 14-of-24 against CCS, and then an appalling 16-for-31 against Rider. Purdue beats Rider by double digits if it can just hit a few more shots from the charity stripe.
Pomeroy currently has the Boilermakers ranked 60th in the country. They have the 20th ranked offense, but are 174th defensively. They’re giving up an average of 75 points per game, and opponents are connecting on 40-percent of their field goals.
Nov. 20th – Purdue vs Eastern Illinois, 8pm
Eastern Illinois is 2-1, with their lone loss coming against Northwestern. They average under 70-points per game, struggled to rebound the ball, and don’t share the ball particularly well either. Reggie Smith leads this team with 21 points per game. He’s a bit of a volume shooter, with 14 attempts per game, but doesn’t shoot the ball very well hitting just 38-percent of his shots (and just 27-percent from the three point line). Where Smith excels is at getting to the free throw line where he averages 13 attempts per game.
Smith is essentially the teams entire offense, since no one else is giving them more than nine points a night on average. This will be another game where Purdue has a size advantage. Forward Luke Piotrowski checks in at 6-11, but isn’t a very adept rebounder with just under four boards per game. Hammons, if he can stay on the court, will have a distinct advantage over him and the Panthers other forward, Keenen Anderson. Anderson is a better rebounder with nearly seven per game, but is 6-7.
Overall, the Panthers are not a very good team, but neither was Rider. If the Boilers learned anything from their last game, they will dismantle Eastern Illinois.
Nov. 24th – Purdue vs Siena, 12pm
The Saints are 1-3, but have kept all their losses under 12 points. Pomeroy has them as the 259th ranked team, and in the 250s on offense and defense. The offense hasn’t put up more than 74 points in a game, and is averaging just under 66 points per game. They play winless Cornell this week before heading to West Lafayette.
Small forward Lavon Long and guard Rob Poole lead the offense with 12 points and 15 points respectively. Both are solid rebounders and good on the defensive end of the court as well. Long is shooting over 50-percent, but he’s generally finishing around the basket.
This will be the last truly “easy” game the Boiler play for the schedule ratchets up. Both teams like to play a bit up tempo, so the ball could be moving up and down the court pretty quickly.
This is another game the Boilermakers should win, but immaturity could keep the score closer than it should be.
Purdue will face No. 7 Oklahoma State next week and needs these next two games to really hone its skills.
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