Purdue kicks off the season with a bang.
One of the most anticipated seasons in Purdue basketball history got off to a great start with the Boilermakers topping Bellarmine by a score of 96-67.
It took Purdue a little while to get things going on both ends of the floor, but late in the first half and the entire second half, they were able to establish their dominance en route to a near 30 point win.
Although the Boilermakers hit the century mark and held their opponents to a horrid offensive performance, this team still felt a bit flat at some points. Especially from a few of the star players that weren’t getting the run they maybe thought they deserved.
As we’ve seen over the past decade-plus, you cannot take a whole lot from these non-conference tilts against low major squads. This is just nitpicking though, as Purdue played a tremendous second half.
Regardless, the Boilermakers got the job done and when they were able to get going they looked phenomenal in the process.
The story of this game was Purdue’s red hot shooting from deep as they connected on 16-36 from three-point range. If this team can shoot similarly to this all season, they will be virtually untouchable.
Leading the way for the Boilermakers was Sasha Stefanovic with 23 points on 6-8 shooting from the field. He was a real focal point of the offense tonight and seemed to have a lot of confidence in his shot. If Sasha can get his offense going off the dribble, getting to the line while hitting threes like he was able to tonight… it’s over.
One of the more surprising performances came at the hands of the junior guard, Isaiah Thompson. Thompson was huge in pacing the Boilermakers during the first half with 12 points on four makes from three-point range. He finished with 15 points and dished out 4 assists.
Possibly Purdue’s two best players, Jaden Ivey and Trevion Williams had largely quiet performances tonight. At times, both of these preseason All-Americans looked checked out on the glass and defensively. It was an odd game, but as I mentioned before we should not put too much emphasis on one game.
Ivey scored 11 points on 4-11 shooting from the field, but was active on the glass with 5 boards and was setting up teammates well. The biggest thing from Ivey tonight was his unwillingness to drive the basketball, which he did only a handful of times tonight. With his athletic ability, there is no reason for him to be a spot-up shooter like he did a little too much.
Williams on the other hand was limited to 15 minutes all game. This was undoubtedly because Edey had a stellar night and Matt Painter was rolling with the hot hand. Williams finished with just 4 points (on 1-1 shooting) but grabbed 7 rebounds and flashed his passing ability once again with three assists.
Matt Painter also ran out some interesting lineups tonight, specifically, starting Isaiah Thompson over Eric Hunter Jr which turned some heads originally. Thompson proved his worth tonight, as did Zach Edey who got the call as opposed to Trevion Williams.
Ethan Morton, while not a stat sheet stuffer, played a hell of a game in his 18 minutes as well. Painter moved the sophomore to the 4 position with Trey Kaufman-Renn redshirting and Mason Gillis still under suspension. Morton has the ability to be a real glue guy for the Boilermakers, scoring when he can, playing hard on defense, and using his court vision to get teammates involved.
In a 29 point win, there isn’t much more you can ask of your team. Purdue likely will not play in a lot of close games against these types of programs, but games like tonight are very valuable for this squad.
Purdue is back in action on Friday night as they host in-state rival Indiana State at 8:30 pm. This hyped season could not have gotten off to a better start, and the Boilermakers will look to build on the momentum establish tonight in a blowout win.