Purdue rolls past Carroll College in final exhibition game

By KEITH CARRELL
@BoilerColts
ISL Purdue Writer

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue used a second half surge to run away from the Fighting Saints of Carroll College Wednesday night in the final exhibition game, winning 98-71. As is often the case with exhibition tilts, the contest began rather sloppily for both teams with neither scoring on their first couple of possessions and the Boilers coughed the ball up four times in the first four minutes of play. By the time halftime rolled around, Purdue had committed twelve turnovers and only assisted ten field goals. Carroll was unable to capitalize, however, and only converted those turnovers into four points.

Keith Carrell

Keith Carrell

“I thought we would do a better job in our decision making (after having the extra playing time representing Team USA in the World University Games over the summer).” – Purdue head coach, Matt Painter

Purdue began the game with what figures to be its typical starting five for the foreseeable future: P.J. Thompson, Carsen Edwards, Dakota Mathias, Vincent Edwards, and Isaac Haas. A veteran squad featuring four seniors (Thompson, Mathias, V. Edwards, and Haas) should be able to give the Boilers solid production and good foundation in every contest to build upon.

The starters played through the first six minutes of action before, redshirt freshman, Matt Haarms substituted in for Haas. True freshman, Nojel Eastern (pronounced No-gel) and veteran Grady Eifert were next off the bench about a minute later. With Haas on the bench, the team immediately shifted from a methodical motion offense to find the best shot to one that pushed the tempo in an attempt to attack a backpedaling and unset defense. This change of pace will allow Painter to take a hot hand approach as well as the ability adjust the offense to best combat teams of varying styles and sizes (Carroll’s tallest player was 6’8”). Against the Fighting Saints, once the Boilers regained their composure, both styles were productive.

Carroll was able to get keep the score close in the opening half with extra possessions abounding and closed the gap to as few as 7 before Ryan Cline sank a three in the closing seconds to give Purdue a 44-34 lead at the break.

The second half saw Purdue’s starters resemble themselves in a way in which Boiler fans are accustomed and quickly tallied points for the home team. Painter kept a relatively short bench until the game was well within hand using only four bench players (Haarms, Eifert, Eastern, and Cline). Sasha Stefanovic and Aaron Wheeler got their first action with six minutes remaining followed by Eden Ewing and Tommy Luce who saw five and two minutes, respectively.

Up next for Purdue is a closed scrimmage with West Virginia, as has been the norm the past couple of seasons, on Sunday before hosting Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in the regular season opener on Friday, November 10th.

An initial look at the new players:

Haarms (The New Kid on the Block-ed shot):

The 7’3” – yes, that is taller than Haas – forward out of Amsterdam is a quick and rangy player that was reminiscent of JaJuan Johnson as a sophomore with a ceiling higher than he is tall. Haarms played quickly, but sometimes too quickly. He was fast in transition and was able to adequately defend all five positions, a common trait of European bigs, but his penchant for switching onto smaller players often put his teammates into poor defensive assignments unnecessarily. On the offensive end, he will need to build some strength to ensure he doesn’t get pushed around by bulkier players, but he has the ability to stretch the floor and create space for himself and others. He also had a knack for being in the area for some easy put backs. His highlight reel of the night would be incomplete if not for mentioning his innate ability to block shots, especially of driving guards both as a primary and secondary defender. Officially Haarms blocked two shots, but he had a third demonstrative block not recorded due to a foul from another defender. The way he blocked shots and was quick to score on the offensive glass is what was most comparable to Johnson, but Haarms is still raw and will be a work in progress.

Eastern:

The 6’6” combo guard (most natural at the point) has a ton of potential as seen in the first exhibition game and during the team’s play for the World University Games over the summer, but in the game against Carroll the freshman struggled mightily. The game appeared to be moving too quickly for Eastern and he often attempted to force the ball into spots that weren’t viable options in the first half. It will be an adjustment for Eastern against a higher caliber of opponents on a nightly basis, but the skill is there and the growing pains can easily be overcome. Eastern did bring the half-filled house down late in the second half by throwing down a posterizing dunk while being fouled. The dunk also highlighted Eastern’s perseverance as he had moments ago attempted a soaring dunk down the middle of the lane that was met by the front of the rim.

Wheeler, Stefanovic, and Ewing:

The trio did not play enough tonight and I have not personally seen them play enough to give an honest opinion or insight. Ewing is a transfer from Tyler Junior college with two years of eligibility remaining while Stefanovic and Wheeler are both true freshman. From what I have personally seen in person and on video, I can say that Stefanovic has certainly shown flashes of skill and talent as he displayed with the team in Taipei as part of Team USA. I would expect Painter to discuss the redshirt option with at least one player, but he has historically been fair and prudent with players and also taken the player’s interests in mind as well.

Quick Hits:

Carroll’s head coach is ex-Purdue star and now Doctor, Carson Cunningham… Mackey has some new attributes this season, some highlights: A new and bigger score board/video board, larger stat boards in the corners, ribbon boards on each baseline between the stat boards, and the 2017 Big Ten Championship trophy is on display in the main concourse uniquely tucked in a shadow case with the picture of the team posing with the trophy superimposed on the wall around it… Jacquil Taylor is battling back from yet another injury, but received positive news from a CT scan this week and hopes to return to practice next week (he will not play in the scrimmage with WVU)… Eifert may play a larger role to provide depth in the front court until Taylor is able to contribute regularly… Purdue outrebounded Carroll 40-21… Even with the turnover struggles, the Boilers managed to net a positive assist to turnover ratio with 22 and 20… The Boilers were active with hands in passing lanes on defense and were able to record 15 steals, forcing most of the 23 turnovers the Fighting Saints had… Caleb Swanigan’s number 50 banner now hangs in the rafters… Purdue opens the season ranked 20th in the AP and 21st in the Coaches polls… Purdue received approval from the NCAA to host Indiana State on October 28th in an extra exhibition game where all proceeds were donated to hurricane relief funds in areas ravaged over the past few months; the Boilers won 94-72.

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