- Sep 27, 2008
Somehow I looked, but did not find this thread last night. I love the fight in this team, the mental maturity and intelligence in play. I think Braden showed again,everything I've mentioned before and was simply spectacular. He and Fletcher both were very good as were the whole team, but to have two freshmen play as they did was most impressive. Make no mistake though, this was a "team" win, and I love the play of this team so much better than last year, since I don't do well with cerebral shortcomings in basketball...to a fault at times.In the final game of the night in the Moda Center, it's the #24th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers (4-0) taking on the #6th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs (4-1) in the second semi-final game of the 2022 Phil Knight Legacy Tournament. This game is schedule to tip-off around 11:30 pm (Eastern time) with television coverage on ESPN. The winner moves on to take on Duke in the Championship game Sunday afternoon in the Moda Center @ 3:30 pm (Eastern time), and the loser plays in the 3rd place game Sunday evening in Veterans Memorial Coliseum against Xavier @ 7:30 pm (Eastern time).
This is the third meeting all-time between the schools and the first in more than 20 years. Purdue won both of the previous contests, the first in the 1998 Pre-season NIT and the more recent in the West Region Semi-Final of the 2000 NCAA Tournament.
Gonzaga won handily last night, defeating Portland State, 102-78. It was an excellent offensive performance for Gonzaga with the Bulldogs shooting over 60% from the field and 50% from three-point range. Six players were in double figures, led by 23 points from Malachi Smith off the bench, and 18 from Drew Timme. Hunter Sallis had 12 points and six assists off the bench as well. Purdue had a balanced effort last night in knocking off West Virginia, led by Zach Edey with 24 points and Mason Gillis with 14 points. The Boilers shot 51% from the field and made 24 of 28 from the free throw line as well, but they did have 18 turnovers as a result of West Virginia's pressure and physical defense.
Both teams tonight will have a key presence in the paint, and if Purdue can defend Timme well and contain Gonzaga's other offensive threats, they can perhaps make a good game of this contest. Julian Strawther on the wing is also a handful, and a big presence on the glass as well. They'll need to try and control the tempo and do a better job protecting the ball. Gonzaga has been rather poor itself with turnovers, so Purdue may have a chance to get some extra possessions there and on the offensive glass. Gonzaga will try to neutralize Zach Edey as much as possible, but I don't expect they'll change their overall approach. If Zach Edey can avoid foul trouble and force Gonzaga's hand a little, the Boilers will get some good looks from the outside. Purdue's bench will also be a key in order for them to stay with Gonzaga. They'll need an all-hands-on-deck approach and an effort similar to last night.
Expected Starting Lineups:
Gonzaga: Anton Watson, Drew Timme, Julian Strawther, Rasir Bolton, and Nolan Hickman
Purdue: Mason Gillis, Zach Edey, Ethan Morton, Fletcher Loyer, and Braden Smith
Gonzaga will be one of the best teams Purdue will face all season, and the Bulldogs' offensive firepower will be a tall challenge for the Boilers. They will need to play their best game of the year and then some to stay with the Bulldogs. This game will be a good litmus test for Purdue to see what they have and what they're capable of down the line.....a big moment and opportunity for a young team.....can they rise to the occasion?
We shall see in a couple of hours or so.
Boiler up, my friends.
Still, I'm not surprised other than the level of play is higher "quicker" than I thought since the team is so inexperienced overall and a large part of that is having two freshmen that handle the ball the most, and play like 6 year seniors. I have to remind myself that they are freshmen and expect to see at least a "few" freshmen moments sometime.
Purdue got a bit more from the 4 spot and played more like many thought they would. Team has shown poise, fight and grind and so enjoyable to watch!