Both Purdue and Wisconsin held open scrimmages this weekend as the season continues to near.
For the Boilermakers it was the last public showing for the team until their exhibition game on the 2nd versus California (Pa). The Gold-Black scrimmage involved four ten minute sessions, with the Gold team ultimately winning the day 91-89. If you want to see the box score you can click here. Throughout the set of scrimmages only Jacquil Taylor posted a perfect 4-0 record, while Rapheal Davis was the only player to be on the losing side in all four matches.
Looking at the box score and there were a few things that stand out. First, Jon Octeus looked pretty solid at the point, recording 10 assists and zero turnovers...but was also 1 of 5 from the field and 1 of 5 from the line. Hopefully he won't be another offensive liability at point guard for the Boilermakers. Of course the other option, PJ Thompson, committed one turnover every 1.25 assists so that wasn't promising. Even more notable was A.J. Hammons seems to still be relatively turnover prone, leading the team in turnovers on the day.
Of course there were some nice things that went down on Saturday. First, the team shot 54% from the field, decidedly better than how they shot their first scrimmage. Three point shooting was particularly strong at 43.5%, led by Kendall Stephens who hit 8 of 13 treys on his way to a scrimmage high 32 points. The Boilers three sophomores, Stephens, Bryson Scott and Basil Smotherman, all excelled on Saturday. That is a promising sign as Purdue will need a sizable improvement from the trio if they want to get back to the postseason this season.
As for the Badgers, they played a more traditional scrimmage with the White squad edging the Red team 57-56. Both teams shot particularly well from deep, hitting on 15 of their 29 three pointers, and each shot just under 50% from the field in front of about 8000 fans. Leading the Red team was senior Frank Kaminsky, scoring 23 of the Red teams 56 points. T.J Schlundt and Nigel Hates led the White team with 14 points apiece, with Schlundt hitting on all four of his three pointers. Complete stats for the scrimmage can be seen here.
It should be noted that this years scrimmage ended up drawing over 3000 more fans then last year's 4905 total, likely stemming from the hype heading into the 2014-15 season for Wisconsin. The fans unfortunately didn't get to see star Sam Dekker, nursing a recent injury, but the Badgers provided an entertaining show for the fans in attendance. It was the last public display until their first exhibition game on the 5th versus UW-Parkside.
While the team was without Dekker, the intention of the scrimmage was mainly to entertain fans and the game coming down to the wire did just that. Now Wisconsin will shift gears as they prepare for their opener on the 14th versus Northern Kentucky. Coming off of a Final Four appearance, Wisconsin has their eyes on the ultimate prize, now they just need to not let the hype get to their heads. So far so good it seems for the Badgers.