Boilermakers Open Season With Win Over Aggies


The #23 Boilermakers took care of business, at home, against the North Carolina A&T Aggies, to secure their first win of the season.

If you’re a Purdue Boilermakers fan, it was a beautiful way to begin a season. The Boilermakers looked more than dominant, defeating the North Carolina A&T Aggies by 41 points, 81-40, in their first regular season game of the year.

It was nearly a perfect game for the Boilermakers. Not only did they shoot 45.3 percent from the field, including 38.7 percent from three-point range (12 of 31), but they held the Aggies to 24.1 percent shooting, including a 0-for-15 performance from behind the arc. From beginning to end Purdue never let up.

But that means there were some things that could have gone better. Here’s the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Purdue’s performance.

The Good

Everyone got involved…well except for Dakota Mathias, but we will talk about that later. Half of the players (6 of 12) that stepped on to the court hit a three-pointer; Kendall Stephens and freshman Ryan Cline knocked down four each. This is a team that lives and dies by the three-pointer most games, so seeing them knock them down with ease was great. 31 attempts was more than most would like to see, but because of Isaac Haas and freshman Caleb Swanigan in the post, it opens up the inside-outside game and creates wide-open threes.

Speaking of Swanigan, he became the first Purdue freshman to record a double-double – 11 points and 11 rebounds – in the season opener. He didn’t shoot particularly well, 2-of-5, 1-of-3 from three, but he went 6-of-6 from the free throw line. With this being his first regular season game, we will notch his shooting performance up to jitters.

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Fellow freshman, Cline, might have had an even bigger debut performance; with Swanigan we expected him to have a big game, but no one was sure what Cline would do. In 17 minutes of action, Cline went 4-of-7, including 4-of-6 from three-point range and 1-of-2 from the line to finish with 13 points. The leading scorers – Rapheal Davis and Stephens – finished with 14 points. Not bad for his first game.

And let’s not forget about the big man, Haas. With A.J. Hammons still in the doghouse – no clue why – Haas got the start at center and continued to impress. He finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks – his first career double-double.

The Boilers also assisted on 21 of their 24 field goals with transfer point guard Johnny Hill leading the team with five assists.

Defensively the Boilermakers held NC A&T’s best player, Bruce Beckford, to only nine points on 1-of-8 shooting. The rest of the Aggies didn’t do any better, shooting just 24.1 percent as mentioned above.

Mandatory Credit: Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

The Bad

Only 18 of Purdue’s 81 points came from within the paint. That’s a bad sign when you have a 7-foot-2 center and a 6-foot-9 power forward and the tallest player on the opposing team is 6-foot-9.

Having Hammons on the bench definitely didn’t help matters in the low post. The 1-2 punch of Hammons and Haas was dominant last year, and adding Swanigan was supposed to make that duo even more dangerous. Unfortunately, Hammons has had trouble staying on the court in his four years at Purdue, usually “conduct” issues. Head coach Matt Painter won’t say why Hammons has been benched or when he will return to the lineup.

Other than the low amount of points scored in the paint, the only other negative to Purdue’s game was their turnovers. Last season the Boilermakers were 228th in the nation with 13.1 turnovers per game. You would like to see them fix that this year, but they’ve kept the average alive with 13 turnovers against the Aggies.

The Ugly

Mathias was expected to make a leap this year, and at one point was even thought to be a potential starter. In 21 minutes, Mathias went 0-for-1 from the floor and had three rebounds, three assists and two turnovers. Not exactly what fans were hoping to see out of the sophomore.

At the end of the day, it was great to see the Boilermakers pull out a 41-point victory. This team has had a lot of hype surrounding them ever since Hammons opted to return for his senior season and they snagged Swanigan away from Michigan State. They did exactly what a powerhouse team is supposed to do against lesser competition and one can only hope it gets better with Hammons eventual return.

Next: Indiana Faces Eastern Illinois in Season Opener

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