ATB: Purdue Gets More From MoorePosted by rtmsf on January 29th, 2010
Will the Least Ugly Team Please Stand Up? #12 Purdue 60, #16 Wisconsin 57. This was your typically ugly conference season Big Ten game; you know, the kind that makes you wonder why you started watching the game in the first place. But in a battle for standing as to who will be the team to challenge Michigan State if/when they falter, it was Matt Painter’s Boilermakers who protected their home court tonight against Wisconsin (36-2 at Mackey against the Badgers) and pulled a victory out of the slugfest. Purdue got 20/4 from E’Twaun Moore (including the game-winner with 25 seconds left), 12/13 from Robbie Hummel and was happy to see injured point guard Lewis Jackson back on the court even though he only played twelve minutes and contributed two points. He’s the true PG that Moore and Chris Kramer are not, and it stands to reason that the Boilermakers will be a better team in the long run with Jackson back in action. On the Wisconsin side, Keaton Nankivil blew up for 25/8 on 7-8 shooting from three, almost singlehandedly keeping the Badgers in the game at certain points. Therefore, it was interesting that Trevon Hughes (9/4 on 3-11 FGs) got the ball with Wisconsin down one point and he missed a short runner that would have won the game. Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson was benched for being late, yet he came off the pine to contribute 14/3. As we’ve discussed before, Purdue is a much better team when Johnson is scoring and boarding, so it’s a testament to the quality of the Boilermaker defense that he was kept relatively in check tonight. Both of these teams, along with Ohio State and Illinois, now have three losses in the Big Ten, and while none may catch Michigan State, they’re all vying for position in the #2 through #5 spots. With Purdue and Wisconsin splitting their season series, it may come down to who has the easier schedule over the next four weeks, and from our viewpoint that team is Purdue (Indiana and Penn State twice, as well as Iowa once).
The Courtney Fortson Show. Arkansas 67, Mississippi State 62. In an otherwise ugly game with about seventeen people in the stands due to inclement weather in NW Arkansas, Courtney Fortson and his braids pulled off their best Devan Downey impression tonight with a 33-point second half that matched the visiting Bulldogs point-for-point. He ended with a career-high 35/7/4 assts and even found time to have a mini-altercation with his coach during the outburst, and this will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of a disappointing season in Fayetteville. Mississippi State couldn’t buy a bucket for much of this one (31% FGs, 19% 3FGs), but they still could have won the game deep into the second half had they merely been able to get a handle on Fortson. They never did, and recently ranked MSU has now lost two in a row and really hasn’t played a strong game in three weeks. You have to wonder if all the hubbub over Renardo Sidney (is he in? is he out?) might be weighing upon them a little bit. Their defense has remained consistently good, but the offense is just not producing enough good shots for talents like Jarvis Varnado and Dee Bost. With the loss by MSU, Vanderbilt and Kentucky remain as the only two teams in the SEC with one loss or fewer in conference play.
Other Games of National Interest.
- #8 Gonzaga 71, Santa Clara 64. Gonzaga used a 12-0 run to finish the game and break through a turnover-prone night for another road win in the WCC against thorn-in-their-side Santa Clara tonight. For the majority of the game, it appeared that the home Broncos had a major upset in their crosshairs, but when it came crunch time, the Zag trio of Matt Bouldin (19/2/6 assts/4 stls), Elias Harris (16/14) and Steven Gray (19/3/3) made the necessary plays to move to 6-0 in the WCC. With a road win on Saturday night at San Francisco, Gonzaga will have already gotten through five of their seven road games in the conference, with only trips to LMU and Pepperdine remaining. That’s what we call… comfortably in control.
- #17 Pittsburgh 63, St. John’s 53. It was closer than the final margin, but a 9-1 Panther run to end the game helped Syracuse fend off St. John’s and stay within a game of Syracuse for second place in the Big East. Pitt started slow and trailed the Johnnies 28-24 at halftime, but took care of the basketball (only nine turnovers for the game) and turned up the intensity on defense to force St. John’s into just 27% from the field in the second half. That’s not as dismal as their own 2-12 from three-point range (17%), but SJU hit only two more than Pitt for the entire game. Brad Wanamaker had both of Pittsburgh’s treys and led the Panthers with 16/4/6 assts/2 stls.
- #20 Mississippi 84, Auburn 74. You’ve been hearing a lot about the Mississippi guards, or at least you should. Here’s why. Chris Warren, Eniel Polynice, and Terrico White shot a combined 21-35, scored 53 of Ole Miss’ 84 points, and dished all 12 of their teams’ assists, with all of those numbers coming in the paint on drives to the hoop or frequent feeds into the post. Auburn’s Tay Waller (21/2/3 stls) hit four of his five threes in the first half and propelled the Tigers to a 41-38 halftime lead, and it was close until the last ten minutes…which belonged to the Ole Miss guards and their excellent shot selection. The Rebels shot 65% in the second half, and 57% for the game.
- #22 Georgia Tech 79, Wake Forest 58. Choose your weapon. The Yellow Jackets put five players in double figures, playing what Gani Lawal (14/9) and head coach Paul Hewitt called their best game of the year on both ends of the floor. Wake could only manage 32.8% from the field and a downright frigid 16.7% (3-18) from behind the arc in the face of the Tech defense. The Jackets, led by D’Andre Bell’s 16/5/3 asst, also got help on the glass from Derrick Favors’ 11/9 (and 5 blocks), and won the rebounding battle, 37-29. Wake was in it until a 10-0 Tech run early in the second half made it 53-35, and the damage was done.
- Virginia Tech 76, Virginia 71 (OT). Virginia is one of the pleasant surprises of the ACC this season, and nobody is looking forward to a trip to Charlottesville because of it. It seemed as if the Wahoos were about to get another solid home win when they were up ten with 3:44 remaining, but the Hokies roared back behind Malcolm Delaney’s 27/6 to take a 65-62 lead with just a few ticks left. Virginia’s Sammy Zeglinski then drilled a 25-footer at the buzzer to send the game to OT. The storybook ending didn’t happen, though, as Delaney and JT Thompson (17/7) were too much for the Cavs to handle. Both teams move to 3-2 in the crowded middle of the pack of the ACC.
- Arizona 76, Stanford 68. The more Arizona adjusts to life under Sean Miller, the more we’re convinced that this is the best team in the Pac-10. The primary reason: freshman forward Derrick Williams, who had his fourth consecutive 20+ game (23/8) tonight against Stanford. The Wildcats still won despite shooting a near-season-worst 33% from the field, and allowing Cardinal guards Landry Fields and Jeremy Green to go off for 56 combined points. THE Nic Wise added 14/6 even though he didn’t shoot the ball very well (2-9), but he still found time to tweet some smack afterward about sniffing he top spot in the league. And guess who visits Tucson on Sunday?
- California 78, Arizona State 70. Cal put three players into the 20+ range, with Jerome Randle at 25/4 assts, Jamal Boykin with 25/10, and Patrick Christopher with 21/8/3 assts/3 stls, but the rest of the entire team only contributed two field goals, a statistical oddity that shows just how reliant the Bears are on a few key players. Mike Montgomery’s team led for most of the game, but it was Jorge Gutierrez’s corner three with three minutes remaining to give them enough cushion to put the game away. This win keeps Cal in first place in the Pac-10 at 6-2, setting up a showdown with Arizona in Tucson on Sunday for first place in the league.