The Purdue Boilermakers and the Indiana Hoosiers met Thursday night to renew the oldest rivalry in the Big Ten. Indiana was looking to avenge an earlier loss to the Boilermakers. Purdue on the other hand was seeking to steal a game on the road in an attempt to build their tournament resume.
The game was back and forth throughout. Neither team could gain a decisive lead. The Hoosiers went into the half with a 2 point lead. Purdue was able to rally off the huge dunk from Jon Octeus. Indiana couldn't find an answer for A.J. Hammons inside. Rapheal Davis gave Purdue a 3 point edge after back to back layups with under 2 minutes left to play. Yogi Ferrell couldn't get his 3 to fall with under 10 seconds left to play. The Boilermakers won 67-63 and completed the season sweep of the Hoosiers.
What We Learned
Indiana needs scoring from the bench
The Hoosiers' starting 5 played fantastic on Thursday night. In total, 4 of the starters finished with double figures in points. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, the bench didn't do their part. The reserves played a combined 47 minutes and only scored 2 points. That's unacceptable. It's hard to win games when you can't get anything from the bench. Purdue didn't have a monster game from their bench, but they did manage to get 17 points from their reserves. The lack of a bench came back to haunt the Hoosiers on Thursday night.
A.J. Hammons couldn't be guarded
Hammons finished with 20 points on 8-9 shooting. The Hoosiers didn't have an answer for him inside. He was able to finish in the paint time after time. He scored 15 in the 2nd half and closed the game out with 2 clutch free-throws. He also set a crucial screen for Davis to drive for a critical layup late in the game. His presence was felt throughout the game and the Boilermakers couldn't have won without him.
Indiana was overpowered in the paint
There were more problems than just Hammons 20 point night. The Hoosiers couldn't find a way to rebound the ball. Purdue was able to grab 14 offensive rebounds! There's no excuse for that. Indiana was outrebounded 38 to 21. That has to change. You can't get owned like that in the paint and expect to beat teams. We all know Purdue is a physical team, but you can't let them do that to you.
Purdue Is A Top Team In The Big Ten
The Boilermakers came into the Big Ten season under the radar, but have shown they can beat anyone in the conference and make a run in the Big Ten Tournament. They finished out their non-conference schedule poorly with 3 straight loses to Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, and Webber. The conferences season has been a different story. They have notched big wins against quality Big Ten opponents like Iowa, Ohio State, and Indiana twice. The real test for the Boilermakers will be their last 3 games. They close out with road games against Ohio State, Michigan State, and at home against Illinois. How they do in those games will determine if they are NCAA Tournament worthy or not.
Indiana wasn't able to avenge their loss earlier this year to the Boilermakers. Luckily Indiana will have games against Rutgers and Northwestern to bounce back against. However, that doesn't take away the sting of losing to their in-state rivals for the second time this season.
This was a big game for Purdue to win. This is a quality win for a team that is looking to sneak into the NCAA Tournament. They also showed us that they have the ability to make a deep run in the conference tournament.