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Oh It Got Ugly Alright, Purdue Wins 107-57

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Rutgers suffered its worst home loss in program history.

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Purdue is loaded with talent and a team that was an absolute terrible matchup for Rutgers.  A deep and athletic team that has their top four scorers in their frontcourt. Rutgers had just seven scholarship players for the fourth consecutive game, and had just two players taller than 6'4" on the court.   At the half those two players, Greg Lewis and D.J. Foreman, both had two fouls and guard Mike Williams had three. The studio host for BTN said at halftime "this game is as one sided as a basketball game can be". Nailed it..and it got worse! Purdue led 59-26 and had a 32-9 edge on the boards, including 14 offensive boards. The Boilermakers scored at will in the first half, shooting 23-42 (54.8%) with too many layups and wide open looks to count. Rutgers shot 12-37 (38.7%), including 2-9 (22%) from three-point range. It was an uglier half than is sounded. It's amazing the spread was less than 21 points. Purdue passed the century mark and won 107-57.

Rutgers ran their offense much of the game, definitely an improvement from the typical veering off into one on one black holes.  The problem was Rutgers couldn't hit their shots and then failed to get back on defense to stop Purdue from making easy baskets.  That was the game in a nutshell.  Purdue routinely beat Rutgers back down the floor after a missed shot and crashed the boards on offense, jumping over flat footed defenders at will. Our guards failed to crash the glass and Purdue grabbed rebounds with ease. Rutgers was out-rebounded 63-23, a ridiculous -40 margin.

Give Rutgers credit for never giving up in running their offense.  Their shot selection was the best it has been in some time and their willingness to make the extra pass was there. They drove to the rim often and forced Purdue to foul, getting into the bonus with over 12 minutes left in the second half. The problem was Rutgers continued being what it is, a very bad shooting team.  They shot 37,9% from the field, with Omari Grier and Mike Williams combining for a poor 2-15 shooting performance. Rutgers also shot just 11-19 (61%) from the charity stripe.

On defense, Rutgers was no match for the frontline of Purdue.  5-star freshman forward Caleb Swanigan was dominating, scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Nine players in total scored 8 points or more, and none of them were leading scorer A.J. Hammons, who only had 6 points but pulled down 9 boards.

That tweet was from the first half. The game was already out of reach and Rutgers fans were begging the opposing coach to empty his bench. Just brutal. Purdue was leading 84-45 with ten minutes to play in the game. Just brutal. Eddie Jordan had the team playing together, the problem was they couldn't matchup man to man on defense.  Which begged the question, why didn't he call for the 2-3 zone until well into the second half?  Foul trouble forced his hand, but why wait and not slow the game down as much as possible with the zone?

Corey Sanders played a great game and did a much better job of running the offense, balancing scoring attempts and getting his teammates shots pretty well. He didn't have the best shooting night, but his shot selection was improved. He made an effort to beat his defender one on one and drive the paint much more than he had recently, a much needed change. The top freshman scorer in the Big Ten finished with a game high 23 points on 10-20 (50%) from the field and 3 assists. It was his second consecutive 20 point performance.

D.J. Foreman played well and gave a gritty performance, scoring 13 points, shooting 4-6 from the field and grabbing 7 rebounds.  He drove to the rim with authority and played hard all night. He needs to continue to assert himself on offense, with his last two games being his best of the season.

Bishop Daniels also played with purpose on offense, being active without the ball and slashing to the rim, but couldn't get in much of a rhythm.  He finished with just 6 points but had 3 rebounds and 3 assists before fouling out with 3:22 left in the game.

No doubt this team is hurting and on the edge of hopelessness.  Senior center Greg Lewis is playing on a bum knee and after a few minutes into the game, couldn't move well enough to be a factor.  Mike Williams got bumped around in the second half and was moving gingerly the rest of the way. They only had five other scholarship players and were simply undersized and overmatched against one of the best teams in the conference. This was as noble an effort as a 50 point loss could result in. But the defense and shooting is that of a very bad team, any way you shake it.

Things do not look like they will get any better anytime soon.  #9 Iowa comes to the RAC Thursday, before Rutgers travels to Michigan and #11 Michigan State next week. The next winnable game is at home on February 3rd against Illinois. Tonight was brutal and the conference losing streak extends to 21 games in a row.  Losing by 50 points has to be the worse loss in I don't know, decades, if not the worst ever.

Oh okay, worst home loss ever. Nothing else to say, as this isn't even rock bottom.

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