It was all they talked about Thursday, all they were asked about really.
Have you seen how everyone is picking Siena to beat Purdue? Even the President?
Yes, the Boilermakers didn't miss a moment of the "experts" writing them off, picking the 13 seed Saints to pull the upset.
But when it was over Friday, it was fourth-seeded Purdue that had won another first-round tournament game. It's 12th consecutive.
"It definitely felt good for us to go out there and prove them wrong and get a victory," said E'Twaun Moore after Purdue's 72-64 victory. "Man, we just had faith in ourselves, and that's what we've got to keep doing. Staying strong together."
The message certainly was sent in the second half Friday.
Purdue started the half on a 20-3 run, using dominating defense from every position, scoring in transition and producing points in the halfcourt.
In the first six minutes especially, the Boilermakers showed they can still be special without Robbie Hummel.
- They still have Lewis Jackson. Jackson controlled the game, breaking down Siena's defense to get easy shots for JaJuan Johnson and Keaton Grant and suffocating Siena point guard Ronald Moore to slow up the Saints' offense. On one play in the second half, Jackson used his quickness to zip, bounce and slip through Siena's zone before finding Johnson for a dunk.
- They still have Johnson. He deserves credit for getting 23 points but more kudos for snatching 15 rebounds and blocking three shots. Johnson was what he is at his best: a presence in the post on both ends. When he gets a dunk or blocks a shot, the energy level shoots up.
- They can push the ball. Hummel ran the break just fine, but Purdue is looking to run more now with a true four-guard lineup. Siena was supposed to be the team with that strength Friday, but Purdue had 20 fastbreak points to Siena's seven. The Boilermakers held an 11-0 edge in the category in the second half.
- They can defend. Jackson didn't seem worried when discussing Ronald Moore -- because he knew Purdue's point guards could contain him. Johnson is scary for players who reach the rim. Chris Kramer can be a "pest," which is what coach Matt Painter called him Friday.
- They still have Kramer. After thinking Siena leading scorer Alex Franklin owned him at points in the first half, Kramer locked down in the second. Franklin didn't have a point. Kramer also ignited the offense by getting out on the break, either leading it or being ready to receive passes. He just missed connecting with Grant on an alley-oop dunk.
- They still have E'Twaun Moore. Though Moore needs to start shooting at a higher percentage, he has shown maturation by still playing well when shots don't fall. Despite handling the ball often against Siena's press, he didn't have a turnover. He also had three steals and four assists.