That was a basketball that you don't just attend. Rather, that basketball game happens to you. As if I'd done something terrible in a past life and deserved to sit through this and watch it.
I had arrived in West Lafayette from Chicago from Milwaukee on Saturday evening, which I spent visiting a PhD friend in the Materials Engineering department and partying with awkward MatEng grad students. Goodness gracious.
This town is weird, you guys.
Anyways, the game.
It happened. That's about as kindly as I can put it. After Rapheal Davis made a layup to cut the Wildcats' lead to 12-11 with 12:52 left, this sequence happened:
|12:29||Sanjay Lumpkin missed Jumper.||12-11|
|12:29||12-11||A.J. Hammons Defensive Rebound.|
|12:12||12-11||A.J. Hammons missed Jumper.|
|12:12||Sanjay Lumpkin Defensive Rebound.||12-11|
|11:52||Drew Crawford missed Jumper.||12-11|
|11:52||12-11||A.J. Hammons Defensive Rebound.|
|11:40||12-11||Terone Johnson missed Three Point Jumper.|
|11:40||Kale Abrahamson Defensive Rebound.||12-11|
|11:29||Drew Crawford missed Layup.||12-11|
|11:29||12-11||Rapheal Davis Defensive Rebound.|
|11:10||12-11||A.J. Hammons missed Jumper.|
|11:10||Drew Crawford Defensive Rebound.||12-11|
|10:50||Alex Olah missed Jumper.||12-11|
|10:50||12-11||Rapheal Davis Defensive Rebound.|
|10:39||12-11||Rapheal Davis missed Jumper.|
|10:39||Alex Olah Defensive Rebound.||12-11|
|10:27||Alex Olah missed Three Point Jumper.||12-11|
|10:27||12-11||Ronnie Johnson Defensive Rebound.|
|10:19||12-11||Ronnie Johnson missed Jumper.|
|10:19||Kale Abrahamson Block.||12-11|
|10:17||12-11||Ronnie Johnson Offensive Rebound.|
|10:11||12-11||Terone Johnson missed Layup.|
|10:11||Alex Olah Defensive Rebound.||12-11|
|9:49||Sanjay Lumpkin missed Layup.||12-11|
|9:49||12-11||Rapheal Davis Defensive Rebound.|
|9:31||12-11||Ronnie Johnson Turnover.|
|9:28||Drew Crawford Steal.||12-11|
|9:16||12-11||Foul on Terone Johnson.|
|9:16||Official TV Timeout|
(courtesy of ESPN pbp)
Yes, that is in fact 3:36 of uninterrupted terrible basketball. No fouls, no dead ball plays, just three-and-a-half minutes of two bad basketball teams dribbling up and down the court, missing shots but not being competent enough to give us a respite from their incompetence.
A relatively high-energy Paint Crew and the Boilermaker faithful, initially amped up to send the seniors out with a win, had all but resigned themselves to a terrible basketball game by halftime. The student section of the second deck (where I sat) sat down after the under-8 TO in the first half, not to stand back up. The noise and cheers during possessions dwindled by halftime. Even the train whistle sounded more like a sigh by the end of the half.
The second half involved a concerning amount of offense for this Northwestern fan. Northwestern outscored Purdue by only 2, 46-44 in the second half, a score that is reminiscent of the Wildcats' 49-43 win over Illinois. Sanjay Lumpkin briefly lost the ability to miss, drawing me the ire of my Boiler friends as I would say "Oh, shit" every time he rose to shoot. Drew Crawford, in an excellent farewell, went 13/14 from the stripe en route to 27 points overall. Alex Olah added 14 of his own, while engaging in my and my friends' favorite part of the evening, his battles with Travis Carroll (hereby known as "Tacos" -- thanks, Paint Crew handout!), as captured in my snapchat:
Northwestern opened up a double-digit lead with about 11 minutes to play, but a renewed Purdue interest in actually giving AJ Hammons the ball, hotter outside shooting, and Northwestern's continued adventures with breaking a press allowed the Boilermakers to whittle the lead to 6 on a Hammons dunk before Drew Crawford went and done got all onions-y as the shot clock ran down. Free throws and the usual pressbreak shenanigans lengthened the slapfight, but at the end, Northwestern stood tall(er) at 6-12, while Purdue dropped to last in the B1G at 5-13.
- Matt Painter's use of AJ Hammons' was baffling. While I enjoy Tacos as much as the next fan of awkward white centers (and Northwestern continues to have 'em), Hammons' athleticism should have earned Alex Olah a 4th foul long before 4:29 to play in the game. The allowance of Hammons to disappear for stretches is unacceptable for a streaky-shooting team that needs inside presence. He only pulled 24 minutes this game, while not picking up his 3rd foul until 2:23 remained in the game. Curious.
- Speaking of Painter, how about this quote?
- That rise in temperature might be a seat warming. He's certainly not gone after this year, but 5-13 again will be unacceptable to the 1932 National Champions.
- Alex Olah will be on an All-B1G team next year. Not first, mind you, but possibly second, and I can certainly see third. Dude has some post moves and just needs to put it all together. He's exciting to have in the center for Northwestern.
- Are any of our Boiler friends at OTE sad to see Terone Johnson go? I saw little of his fit in the offense, jacked-up 3s that barely found the rim (he finished 0-4, 4-11 from the field), and average-at-best defense.
- Sanjay Lumpkin's role is to get rebounds and be scrappy. And, y'know, bury Purdue with a couple threes, apparently. Sanjay, please work on developing offense in the off-season.
- Rapheal Davis has the potential to be a really exciting guard in the B1G. He went for 13 points and 9 boards on Sunday, was a plugger underneath with active hands, and has the length and quickness to be a force in the B1G. Hopefully Purdue can build around him and Hammons going forward.
- Thanks, Drew Crawford. You and your three-stache have taken us on some awesome rides. Wait. What?
Just as a last thought:
Northwestern, you absolute clods. Beat Penn State, and you're sitting in a tie with Illinois and Indiana for 8th that you would've won on tiebreaker. Instead, you score 32 points in a game (which shall hereby be referred to as "a Northwestern") and draw an angry Iowa team in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament for your troubles. Enjoy the murder-death-kill that will ensue on Thursday, folks. I'm taking Iowa by 25. Is it women's lacrosse season yet?