Rushed Reactions: #4 Purdue 80, #13 Vermont 70

Posted by Brendan Brody on March 16th, 2017

Purdue did not play its best game of the season this evening, but the Boilermakers did enough things right to hold off a pesky Vermont team that was still within five points in the last five minutes. Turnovers and shaky defense are still a concern for Matt Painter’s team going forward, though.

BIggie Swanigan Notched His 27th Double-Double of the Season (USA Today Images)

Three Key Takeaways.

  1.  Purdue still has a dangerous offense. The final numbers made things look much nicer for Purdue’s offense than it actually played tonight — at times, the Boilermakers really struggled to get anything going. All in all, though, Purdue finished the game scoring well over 1.10 points per possession, solid shooting percentage numbers, and only two turnovers after halftime. The first half was somewhat uglier, so there’s plenty for Matt Painter to focus on cleaning up with his team before Saturday.
  2. Purdue still has issues to fix. This isn’t the time of year for Painter to deal with things like inadequately closing out on three-point shooters or improperly feeding the post. It is possible that the Boilermakers slightly overlooked the Catamounts, but that too is problematic because this team simply isn’t good enough to hit an on and off switch like that.
  3. Vermont could have grabbed the upset but lost the game in the paint. If a couple of three-pointers hadn’t rolled in-and-out, this game was there for the Catamounts’ taking, having received tremendous performances from Anthony Lamb and Trae Bell-Haynes. Tonight wasn’t a very good defensive performance from Purdue, but a +11 rebounding edge and a +14 advantage in the paint ensured the victory.

Star of the Game. Purdue’s Vincent Edwards experienced a similar scoring stretch similar to Reggie Upshaw for Middle Tennessee earlier today. Edwards scored the first eight Purdue points in the second half, while adding five rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks. The junior didn’t need to carry the whole offense tonight, but his early second half scoring punch perhaps prevented a fatal lull.

Quotable.

  • “He scores in transition and gives us a different look. It could be an open gym or an NCAA Tournament game and he’d still have the same numbers.  ” – Matt Painter, on the calm demeanor of freshman Carsen Edwards in big games.
  • “Terrible question!” – Purdue players jokingly chiding a reporter who was asking Matt Painter about the firing of Indiana head coach Tom Crean.
  • “It’s important, but after today it’s not important.   ” –Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan, on how important it was to win Purdue’s first NCAA Tournament game since 2012.

Sights and Sounds. A thud. An extremely loud thud is what had press row talking when Isaac Haas, he of the 7’2″ 290 pound frame took a nasty spill in the first half. ” That’s just not a normal, human falling down sound,” and “Is that what it sounds like when they cut down a redwood?” were overheard in the area.
What’s Next. Purdue will play the second game of the Saturday twin-bill against the winner of the Iowa State and Nevada match-up.

Brendan Brody (306 Posts)

Brendan Brody is in his fourth season covering the Big Ten for RTC. Email him at brendan.brody@gmail.com, or follow him on twitter @berndon4.


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