Despite a valiant second-half effort, Northwestern was unable to overcome Purdue’s size, falling to the Boilermakers 71-61. Our quick post-game thoughts:
- It sounds so simple to say, but what made such a big difference in this one was the fact that Purdue was simply bigger. The Boilermakers dominated on the offensive glass, grabbing 19 offensive rebounds. There were possessions when the Boilers got 3 looks at the basket, and any time a team has that, they’re going to have success.
- Northwestern’s offense really struggled to create good looks to start the game, which allowed Purude to open a big lead. Because of that, Northwestern spent the game playing from behind.
- Purdue had a really strong offensive start to the game, but for a large part of the second half played really sloppy basketball. Because of that, Northwestern was able to hang around in this contest, making things a lot closer than they certainly could have been.
- Northwestern did a really good job of hanging around in the second half of this game, by hitting a lot of tough shots, but the second Purdue started hitting shots, things started to go downhill for Northwestern.
- Northwestern was just 6-27 from behind the arc on the night, but a really good 19-29 from 2. Had Northwestern not taken some ill-advised 3s throughout, this game could have been completely different.
- Alex Olah has been phenomenal for Northwestern in his career, with veteran leadership and great decision making, but took a number of ill-advised shots tonight, including an alarmingly high number of three-pointers. Olah has shown throughout his career that he can hit that shot, but seemed to look for that shot a little too often tonight.
- Another nice night for Tre Demps, who lead NU in scoring, and was an efficient 7-13 from the field. He’s played much better lately, and will look to lead this team to the postseason to close his Northwestern career.
- Scottie Lindsey has had a nice stretch of games lately, but really struggled against Purdue tonight, scoring just 2 points.
- Purdue’s bigs get all the credit, and rightfully so, but Ryan Cline was massive off the bench, hitting 3 massive three-pointers. Even when he missed, as he did with just about a minute to go, Purdue was seemingly always there for the offensive board, and were there for every big offensive board on the evening.
- Rough night for Dererk Pardon, who fouled out in just about 6 minutes of play. There will always be nights like these for freshmen, Northwestern just wishes it hadn’t come on a night when the ‘Cats could’ve really used him.
- Purdue will be such an interesting team to watch this March, because they have the size to punish just about every team down low, but the issue will be their offense. There are stretches when this team just goes cold and can’t score on anyone. If those cold stretches add up, it could be an early March exit.
- Mackey Arena has a really nice feel to it, and Purdue’s fans are some of the best in the conference. Their hype-up video during the starting lineups is also near the top of the conference. To top it all off, Purdue has a really great PA announcer, which gives the game an NBA style feel.