The Big Ten usually doesn't play many conference games on Monday night and if you had decided to celebrate the relatively uncommon early week game then you were probably disappointed by a laugher between Purdue and Rutgers. For Purdue it was business as usual as they head into a back loaded week with Ohio State and Iowa still on deck. As for Rutgers, well things continue to be a struggle in their second season as a Big Ten member.
Game of the Night: Purdue 107 Rutgers 57
Rutgers has been very, very bad since joining the Big Ten. The reality is the Scarlet Knights haven't fielded a competitive basketball team in quite some time and jumping up to a more competitive conference was always going to be a rough transition. That being said, if Rutgers wants to land a win or two in the conference, they'll need to play lights out or simply catch a team on a bad night. Unfortunately for Eddie Jordan's team, tonight was not that night.
The first half more or less said everything you needed to know about tonight's game, with a turnover prone Purdue team committing zero turnovers in the first half while out rebounding the Scarlet Knights by a 31-9 margin. That difference in rebounding is even more impressive when you realize that the Boilermakers had more offensive rebounds (13) in the first half than Rutgers had total rebounds. Purdue also backed up their game early on by shooting 54.8% from the field, looking even better when you realize the team had 13 offensive boards to go with 19 missed field goals. Continuing his recent hot streak, forward Vince Edwards entered the break with 12 points and 8 rebounds, while Caleb Swanigan almost reached a double-double in the first 20 minutes with 9 points and 7 rebounds. The Scarlet Knights could only muster 38.7% from the field while only getting to the free throw line twice before the break.
As for the second half, it was more of the same as Purdue outscored the Scarlet Knights by a 48-31 margin. When everything was said and done Purdue reached triple digits in conference play for the first time since 1998 and ended up beating Rutgers by 50 points. The Boilermakers had an impressive 62-23 rebounding advantage and actually ended the game with more offensive boards (26) than total rebounds Rutgers had for the entire game (23). Forward Jacquil Taylor, usually buried in the rotation, had his best night yet with 12 points and 10 rebounds off of the bench in the second half.
The game could have been even worse for Rutgers if not for lone bright spot Corey Sanders, who hit on 10 of his 20 shots to lead the team with 23 points. Past Sanders only D.J. Foreman reached double digits, scoring 13 points, while no one else had more than six points. Things won't get any easier for Rutgers either as the team hosts Iowa this Thursday before traveling to Michigan and Michigan State to close out the month.
The win for Purdue should provide plenty of momentum heading into a game with Ohio State later this week before the Boilers travel to Iowa this weekend.