It was Senior Night at Mackey Arena on Wednesday, and Tom Crean’s Hoosiers essentially served as a prop in Purdue’s festivities.
The Purdue fans bid their farewells to seniors Chris Kramer, Keaton Grant and some guy named Mark Wahlford. The Hoosiers, meanwhile, said hello to their second consecutive 20-loss season in the 74-55 defeat.
With the Vegas line reportedly at 19.5, IU was victorious in that regard. But that marks the closest the team has been to a win since the three-point loss to Purdue on Feb. 4.
The Hoosiers have averaged just more than 55 points scored per game in the eight losses since, while the team’s defense has also been a problem throughout the 11-game losing streak.
Overmatched by Purdue, IU played from behind the entire 40 minutes — save for a brief 2-2 tie — a familiar tale for the Hoosiers.
There were a number of bright spots offensively at times, but it was quite evident how hard IU had to work to score its points. Purdue, meanwhile, made easy baskets all game.
The Hoosiers have a number of players that would fit right onto Matt Painter’s roster, but IU lacks anything close to Purdue juniors E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson.
The do-it-all guard Moore — a student in Purdue’s College of Technology — was all business Wednesday, going for 21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists.
Johnson, meanwhile, caused problems on both sides of the ball. He got to the free-throw line eight times, hitting 10-of-15 on his way to 14 points, adding to 7 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.
Add in 18 points from Kramer, as well as quality role play from the rest of the Boilermakers, and that created much of IU’s troubles.
Still, the Hoosiers internally struggled to stay competitive with their 17 turnovers, just five attempted free throws, four players in foul trouble and another troubled offensive effort.
IU made little effort to get to the foul line, often times thwarted by the logjams in the middle of the paint.
While a number of the team’s actual penetration efforts were misguided, junior guard Jeremiah Rivers and company should be attacking the hoop.
Certainly Rivers continues to badly miss some layups at times, but there were a number of opportunities — some taken, others not — in which the Hoosiers had the ability to get the basket and did not.
Developing an effective penetration game opens up the offense, even if the team is missing its best outside shooters and, thus, struggles to spread the floor.
Outside of freshman forward Christian Watford — who lost his offensive battle against the 6-foot-3 Kramer — the Hoosiers were solid in going to the rim throughout the game.
Freshman forward Derek Elston made the most of his opportunities on the court with a 13-point, 7-rebound effort. Probably more than any Hoosier, the Tipton, Ind., native played aggressively and showed he truly wanted to be on the court.
But, as always, a slow start and poor decisions plagued IU. In the first nine-and-a-half minutes, the Hoosiers had eight turnovers, shot a decent 5-of-12 from the floor, but allowed Purdue to hit 10-of-15 in that same period.
Purdue had no troubles handling IU without star forward Robbie Hummel. The Hoosiers, on the other hand, seem to be badly missing its injured star, as IU continues to lack a serious offensive weapon without freshman guard Maurice Creek.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter how it happened, though. At the end of the night, IU was simply pounded again by a Big Ten foe.
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