Purdue wallops MSU 72-54 in a 70-possession game. StatSheet box score.
After 3 of MSU’s 4 losses, I’ve downplayed the result. I’m not going to downplay tonight’s loss. MSU’s performance was extremely disappointing, both in terms of their lack of composure and their inability to take advantage of Purdue’s weaknesses. The two sets of bars on the left side of this graph are u-g-l-y:
MSU’s lack of composure is shown both by the horrific turnover percentage and by the tentativeness in shooting from the perimeter. Kalin Lucas, who was (rightly) named the front runner for Big Ten Player of the Year by Dan Shulman early in the game, epitomized these problems. He turned the ball over 6 times and made just 2 of 11 shots from the field. The fact that he lost his composure, getting rattled by Lewis Jackson’s quickness, is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this loss. Izzo pulled Lucas for a long stretch in the second half, allowing Korie Lucious to run the team during a period MSU still had a chance to get back into the game.
Additional expressions of disappointment in bulletpoint form:
- I’ve never seen such a series of poor entry passes–partially caused by Purdue savvy post defense.
- A 37.5% offensive rebounding percentage doesn’t get you anything if you can’t turn those offensive boards into points.
- Same thing with forcing a bunch of turnovers early.
- Brilliant use of Robbie Hummel by Matt Painter. He gave them a spark early, knocking down two 3-pointers to give the team some confidence shooting the ball. He didn’t play as much in the second half, presumably because his back started bothering him. But he’d already made the contribution he needed to. (Note: With most players shooting 3-pointers, I can tell immediately when the ball leaves their hand whether the shot is good. Not so with Hummel. Every shot looks good leaving his hands. It’s a miracle when the shot doesn’t drop.)
- The Hightower-led officiaing crew was, of course, painful to watch once again. But you can’t blame the offiiciating for this loss. We ended up shooting 2 more free throws than they did. Kalin Lucas shot 12 of our 20 free throw attempts; I thought he got the benefit of a couple questionable calls, too. He couldn’t stop using his off arm against Jackson.
- Chris Kramer: 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks. He’s exactly the player Purdue needs him to be: a combo point guard/power forward.
- How does Lewis Jackson pull down 6 rebounds?
- JaJuan Johnson was as good as advertised. 17 points on 7 FG attempts. He’s gotta be right in the conversation for conference player of the year.
- Hard to find a bright spot for MSU on offense. Durrell Summers, I guess. He, at least, didn’t look intimidated. And Suton was Suton: 10 and 7 rebounds. Three turnovers for both players, though. In fact, a total of 5 MSU players turned it over at least 3 times.
- Raymar Morgan looked like he could make a difference early, but obviously ran out of gas. 1-5 FG shooting in 14 minutes. Hopefully, another 4 days of recovery time will mean he can contribute more against Wisconsin.
- I really don’t know what to say about Chris Allen at this point. His decision making is completely out of whack. He puts the ball on the floor when he should shoot, and he shoots when he should put the ball on the floor. Not sure how to fix that. Izzo can’t give up on him because we need a consistent 3-point shooting threat beyond Summers.
Bottom line: It’s gonna be a good old-fashioned dogfight for the conference title. Nothing worth having comes easy, as the cliche’ goes.
I hope this game turns out to be an anomaly (Morgan still not 100%; playing one of the elite defensive teams in the country on the road). But we can’t afford any more anomalies from here on out.
Next up: Our Badger friends visit the Breslin Center Sunday afternoon (3:00, ESPN).