WEST LAFAYETTE – All anyone needed to see to comprehend what happened inside Mackey Arena between the IPFW and Purdue men’s basketball teams Tuesday night were the final few seconds of the first half.
With IPFW owning the ball in hopes of a final shot before halftime, Mastodons guard Justin Jordan launched a three-pointer that missed. Except there were still several seconds left on the clock, enough time for Purdue to go the length of the floor, have Kelsey Barlow’s layup rim out, only to have Robbie Hummel hammer it back for a resounding dunk as the backboard lights went on to signify the end of the half.
It marked the end of a nightmare half for IPFW (7-4) and a dream one for Purdue, culminating in an 81-56 rout for the Boilermakers.
Shooting 27 percent in the first half (8 of 30) compared to Purdue’s 70 percent (21 of 30), the hole was large enough to bury well, a Mastodon. And in the end, Purdue shot 53 percent to IPFW’s 34 percent.
It was also a Purdue first half that exorcized the demons of last Saturday’s upset loss to Butler, when the Boilermakers watched an 11-point halftime lead vanish.
I think any time you struggle at the end of a game, the thing that worries you is when you get back in that position and finish the game again, Purdue coach Matt Painter said. We had a good start to our game (against) Butler, and we had a good start to this game. So you want to get back to that position and finish the game out. We were able to do that.
Purdue (10-3) made its intentions known early on Jacob Lawson’s opening dunk. And then Lewis Jackson dropped a three-pointer, and so did Ryne Smith. And when a Hummel layup made it a 10-3 game, the Purdue Express was primed for a serious run.
When IPFW coach Tony Jasick called for a timeout with 6:18 left in the half, Purdue had scored nine points on back-to-back-to-back three-pointers in 1:09 and hauled the lead to 32-9.
I thought we would come out with a little better energy and come out a little sharper on defense, but we kind of relaxed and let them come at us first, and we dug ourselves a hole, said IPFW center Trey McCorkle, who had 10 points. Freshman Joe Edwards led the team with 12.
Added Jasick: We didn’t come out with the aggressiveness or the assertiveness that I had hoped we would. I felt like we came out and kind of felt the game out a little bit, and you can’t do that here with the way these guys prepare and the way that they guard.
If IPFW was on its heels, then Hummel was over the rim with his half-ending dunk. I think Cory (sports information director Cory Walton) told me it was my first one since 2010, Hummel said. Since it’s about 2012, that’s probably not a good thing. It felt good to be above the rim again and see what that feels like.
Hummel was one of a half dozen Boilermakers in double figures. He, Barlow, Jackson and Smith all had 10 points apiece, while Anthony Johnson and D.J. Byrd had 11 each.