WEST LAFAYETTE – Evan Boudreaux had 18 points and eight rebounds, Purdue made 19 3-pointers and the Boilermakers ripped No. 17 Iowa apart at Mackey Arena, winning 104-68 in front of announced sellout crowd of 14,804.
- Fool's gold is still gold: Purdue coach Matt Painter likes to call shooting performances like the Boilermakers had tonight – when they went 19 for 34 from 3-point range and shot 63% overall – "fool's gold" because they're so unlikely to be repeated and can make it seem as though a team played better than it actually did. That's all true and if Purdue and Iowa played 100 more times, the Boilermakers might not have another half in which they out-scored the Hawkeyes by 25 or scored 61 points, both of which they accomplished in the opening period. Still, that doesn't mean Purdue was lucky to build that lead or pile up that many points. The Boilermakers' offense was clicking on all cylinders for just about the entire first 20 minutes and would have scored plenty of points even if it shot at only an average clip from the outside. The ball was moving crisply, every Boilermaker on the floor was cutting and screening with vigor and Purdue only turned the ball over twice in the half. It's a lot easier to make shots at an efficient clip if your offense is constantly producing open looks and the Boilers did that throughout the half. For a team that came into the game last in the Big Ten in field goal percentage in league games at 38.7%, this was a remarkable offensive display.
- Evan Boudreaux is the third big man: For most of the season, Purdue has boasted a pair of big men – Trevion Williams and Matt Haarms – that could be counted among the Big Ten's best. Now, it seems as though the Boilers might have three big men capable of facing the league's top players in the middle. Evan Boudreaux has emerged in a recent weeks as a force to be reckoned with at the power forward slot, playing like the prototypical stretch 4 and opening up the Purdue offense. He added two assists, two steals and a block to his totals tonight. The Dartmouth transfer stepped out for a pair of huge 3-pointers in the first half and also drew a big charge to give the Boilers some energy back when they had gone a little flat. In addition, he held his own guarding Iowa's Luka Garza when Williams and Haarms were on the bench with two fouls apiece. That might be Boudreaux's biggest strength: he looks equally comfortable as the lone big man on the floor in a smaller lineup or alongside Williams or Haarms in a super-sized group. He's the type of versatile player that creates matchup problems for almost everyone and his return to big minutes over the last month has been a huge development for Purdue.
- Don't forget the defense: As eye-popping as Purdue's offense was most of the night, the defense was plenty good, as well. Facing one of the better offensive teams in the country with a bona fide star in Luka Garza on the inside, the Boilermakers flew around the court, making just about everything difficult for the Hawkeyes. Their switches and rotations were impeccable, making some pretty good passing from Iowa almost moot. Haarms in particular was magnificent, jumping ball-handlers off of pick-and-rolls almost out to the logo before hustling back to the basket to guard the post again. Having three talented big guys allows him to play that way, knowing rest is coming when he needs it. Iowa shot just 43% from the field and all non-Garza Hawkeyes hit only 35%. Two of Purdue's most important defensive plays came early in the second half. The Boilermakers turned the ball over a couple of times in the open court and if Iowa had been able to convert a pair of wide-open layups, the Hawkeyes could have cut the deficit to 17 and planted the seeds of a comeback. Instead, first Nojel Eastern and then Jahaad Proctor sprinted to the ball, catching up to streaking Hawkeyes in the open court and stripping the ball to prevent layups. That helped overcome the one semi-concerning moment in the game for the Boilers and soon another parade of 3s buried Iowa for good.
Player of the Game: Everyone
This is a cop-out choice, but it's really impossible to pick a player of the game today as nearly every Boilermakers rotation player played a terrific game. A partial list: Sasha Stefanovic had 15 points on 5-for-9 from beyond the 3-point line; Eric Hunter Jr. had 13 points and seven assists; Haarms totaled 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting; Nojel Eastern had four rebounds and six assists; Tommy Luce hit two 3s and drew a charge. It was a tour de force.
Facts and Figures
Purdue is 10-2 at Mackey Arena this season, compared to 3-8 away from West Lafayette. ... The Boilermakers have won back-to-back games in Big Ten play for the first time this season. ... The Hawkeyes came into the game leading the Big Ten in points per game in league play at 77.1. Purdue was 11th in the country in points given up per game at 60.4. The Hawkeyes went just 6 for 25 from 3-point range. ... Garza is the leading candidate for Big Ten Player of the Year, entering the game scoring 23 points per game (best in the conference) and grabbing 10.4 rebounds per contest (second in the Big Ten). He had 26 points, but only one rebound against the Boilers. ... The Boilermakers are back at .500 in conference play (6-6) for the first time since they were 3-3 on Jan. 12. ... Purdue went over 100 points for the first time since Nov. 18, 2017, when the Boilers beat Fairfield 106-64. ... The Boilers' 19 3-pointers were one short of the program and Big Ten record. ... Purdue had 29 assists on 41 made baskets. ... Iowa turned the ball over only 14 times, but the Boilers had 27 points off those TOs. ...
The Boilermakers are back in action Saturday, when they travel to Bloomington to take on rival Indiana (15-7, 5-6 Big Ten) at Assembly Hall. The game will tip off at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN. The Hoosiers have lost three games in a row, including a 68-59 loss to Ohio State last Saturday, their most recent game. They'll come in off of six days rest. Purdue has won five in a row and eight of the last nine in the rivalry.