Purdue Boilermakers Absolutely Curb Stomp #5 Virginia Cavaliers End to End

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In a game where absolutely every single field goal made mattered, and then some, the Purdue Boilermakers got off to a rip roaring start against the reigning national champions and never looked back; cruising to a 69-40 win. 

The #5 Virginia Cavaliers led 3-0, right off the first possession, but that was it. The Boilermakers quickly countered and found themselves up 26-9 at the under four media timeout in the first half. Defense lives here indeed as UVA were held scoreless for a stretch of nine minutes and nine seconds in the first half. Up 40-19 at the under 16 in the second half, it was all she wrote and Purdue had themselves what you would call “a signature win.”

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When the over/under is only 103, and you have double your opponent’s score into the second half, well, you’re in very good shape at that point. Most of the free college basketball expert picks forecasted a 2 point win for Purdue, which surprised many, given how an unranked 4-3 side was taking on a 7-0, ranked in the top 5 team. And absolutely no one in the betting community foresaw the rout that ensued. This is why games are not played on paper. 

For the Boilers, this win was definitely not revenge for last year’s NCAA Tournament Regional Final game, as the Big Ten/ACC Challenge is nothing compared to the Elite Eight, but it’s a resume win for certain.

“You can talk about last year all you want, but it’s about tonight, two totally different teams, testing ourselves,” center Matt Haarms said, before adding: “showing everybody we have what it takes to have a really good team.

Purdue Boilermakers fans can feel a lot better about their teams after this one. Sure, Marquette, Texas and Florida State still hurt, but being the champs, and doing so in such convincing fashion, it’s a “resume builder” to say the least. 

Virginia had cut it to 15 at point, one the verge of possibly making it interesting, but the big Dutchman Matt Haarms stepped up and hit his second three point field goal of the night at the 11 minute mark. This one was never really in doubt. 

“You try to be thankful for what it can teach you, no matter how much it hurts,” said Virginia coach Tony Bennett.

“In this one we couldn’t control anything you have the power to control.”

Bennett also had this to say about the national polls at this point: “forget rankings, there’s not enough sample size, that doesn’t even matter.”

The 69 points scored was a new season high against the Cavs; the previous high being the Vermont Catamounts’ 55. There were heroes were aplenty for Purdue, as four guys scored in double figures, led by Sasha Stefanovic’s 20. 

Haarms, who put up an 11 and 5, put the win into perspective: “We got to show that we turned the corner. this is a great start, but if we don’t continue then this is meaningless.”

Early on, the Mackey Arena jumbotron showed recent alum Ryan Cline chugging a Boiler Gold beer. On a night when Mackey was reaching extremely high decibel levels, this moment may have rocked the arena unlike any other. For Purdue, you knew it was a going to be your night at that point.

Bennett referred to the environment as “great an atmosphere as you could ask for.” 

Make no mistake about it, this was a very different game, on many levels, from the instant classic of nine months ago.

“They don’t have the same snipers and we don’t have the same snipers,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said in post-game.

“The shot making ability on both ends- I wish I could have watched the game instead of coaching in it.”

Painter also discussed doing his part to help the league in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge (which the conference did win 8-6).

“In terms of this year, it’s about trying to get a win,” he continued. “Let’s put the nine o’clock (tip off time) Big Ten guys in a position (to win the whole thing for the league) by winning the 7:15 (tip-off).”

Tonight marked the first ever Purdue win at Mackey Arena against a non-conference top 5 ranked team.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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