I wanted to talk about the game on Wednesday before it became too late and didn’t matter.
Purdue should have won that game on Wednesday night. Purdue was down as many as 12 points, but it made a frantic comeback to lead by as many as 11 at one point, 50-39.
In a year filled with inconsistency, the game against the Wolverines was just that. Inconsistent play and production from its freshman and veterans has proved costly throughout this entire year. But in my opinion, this last stretch has been all on the veterans.
This past Sunday against Wisconsin, Purdue pulled off a surprising win over then No. 17 ranked Wisconsin. You know why? It’s veterans stepped up. D.J. Byrd hit 6-of-9 3-pointers, scoring 22 points. Terone Johnson added 16. Even Sandi Marcius played well.
Purdue got consistent production from its veterans.
In the 80-75 loss to the Wolverines Purdue didn’t get that consistency and it cost them the game. Yes, Terone Johnson played really, really well. He scored 32 points on 12-of 19 shooting. He was nearly unstoppable when he got into the lane. Sandi Marcius played well again — at times great — scoring 13 points before he had to leave the game due to an ankle injury.
But the problem: D.J. Byrd didn’t show up. Or at least he didn’t show up offensively, scoring just three points, hitting his first shot just minutes before the game ended.
Purdue needs Byrd and Terone to both play well, together. When Purdue wins, it usually wins because both of those guys produce. It makes sense that for such a young team that its veterans need to step up. They have at certain points this season. They need to do it more, though. Last night’s loss was crucial, I think, in getting an NIT bid. The veterans need to step up this last stretch. I believe a postseason tournament, any tournament for that matter, is really important for the progress of this team moving into next season.