The Purdue Boilermakers lost their final game of the regular season Sunday afternoon. The Boilers were unable to put together a consistent attack against Northwestern, ultimately falling 74-65.
The first half effort was so bad that coach Matt Painter was forced to pull a number of his starters. He opened up the second half with a senior oriented lineup, but they still failed to produce results.
After the game, Painter was unusually candid, placing the blame solely on himself.
“First of all, its all my fault,” Painter said. “It’s my job to get guys to play together, it’s my job to gets to play, it’s my job to get guys to play smart, and we don’t do any of those things. And so that is my fault.”
He wasn’t done there either.
“When you start off, people will always give you a break,” Painter continued. “But when you’re somewhere for nine years, they shouldn’t. They absolutely shouldn’t, because it is my fault we are in this position.”
Painter is almost making it sound like he is calling for himself to be fired. While they have had another rough season, no one has heaped the blame on Painter. There is clearly a focus and motivation issue with a number of players on this squad.
When they play his style and execute Painter’s game plans, this is a very solid team. Painter suggested that the core of the issue is in recruiting, and that lately they haven’t had many quality individuals come to West Lafayette lately.
“We have to recruit a more unselfish player, we have to recruit a tougher player,” Painter said. “We have some of those guys in our program, some who don’t. And that’s my fault. This isn’t a school district, I recruited these guys.”
Painter’s squad shot just 35-percent against the Wildcats. Despite winning the rebounding battle, and finishing with 13 offensive boards, the Boilers couldn’t finish around the basket.
Ronnie Johnson had a terrible performance, going 0-for-6 from the floor and turning the ball over four times. Kendall Stephens wasn’t much better, hitting 1-of-8 attempts. Stephens did manage six rebounds and five assists to offset his five points.
AJ Hammons had 13 points, four rebounds, and a pair of blocks. But he once again had to deal with foul trouble and sat out for long stretches.
Raphael Davis tied Hammons in scoring with 13, but eventually fouled out of the game. He was 4-for-9 from the field and hauled in nine rebounds.
Purdue finishes the regular season 15-16, with a 5-13 conference record. The loss dropped the Boilers to the bottom of the Big Ten.
Up next, the Boilers will face either Ohio State or Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament Thursday afternoon.