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Embracing Expectations: 4 Thoughts on Purdue Round 2

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

We are going dancing. In one of the most tense games I can remember, Rutgers got the road win it so sorely needed, beating (and sweeping) Purdue 71-68 in overtime.

Four Thoughts.

Geo Baker was Geo Baker: How clutch is Steve Pikiell’s number one guy? Baker, quiet in the first half, dominated the second half and hit the clutch two to ice the game. He finished with 19 points, willing this team to win when it needed it most. The step back was falling this week and to do it on the road in one of the most difficult arenas in the country? Wow. I don’t have much else to say, but wow.

Jacob Young and Ron Harper Jr.: Geo’s right and left hand men tonight. Young had a couple of brain farts, yes—fouling and missing some free throws, but his speed and ability to get to the rim really got Rutgers offense going and frustrated the Purdue big men. He was hustling. And Ron? Wow, Ron, what a big three you hit there. When we needed it most, he stepped into a three and knocked it down. Ron had 15 points and Jacob had 10.

Defense Travels: Rutgers held Purdue to 33.8% shooting over all and 24% from three. If not for 17 free throws by Purdue, Rutgers would have won this game going away. That’s all I have to say about that.

We. Are. Dancing: That’s it. The Scarlet Knights are in. Steve Pikiell needs a statue built. 29 years and the pain is over. How can you not love this team? Its heart. Its hustle. Everything that had to go right did and this team grinded. When the last shot rimmed out, Ben and I screamed so loud I had to go outside and explain to my neighbor why. I’m not kidding. This is it folks. It is not time to be critical. It’s not time to complain. It’s time to celebrate. Go Rutgers! Enjoy this game. Wow.