2010 NCAA Basketball Tournament Sweet 16 Recap
NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Recap - Purdue vs Duke
(1) Duke 70, (4) Purdue 57
To have a chance against top-seeded Duke, the Robbie Hummel-less Purdue Boilermakers needed Friday's South Regional semifinal game to be slow and ugly. For a half, it was even uglier than the Boilers could have dreamed of.
But only a half. Not a full 40 minutes.
That's why the Duke Blue Devils are headed for the Elite Eight.
Purdue held Duke without a basket for an 8:42 span, and only trailed by one at the break, 24-23. Purdue’s tenacity forced the Blue Devils out of their comfort zone during the first half, as Duke stars Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith combined to shoot just 2-for-16. The Boilermakers’ defense kept them in the game, forcing 11 first-half turnovers. Their offense didn’t do them many favors, though, shooting 8-for-26 and missing all six attempts beyond the arc.
Unfortunately for Purdue, it just couldn’t duplicate the first-half grind.
In the second stanza, the Boilers hung with Coach K’s juggernaut for a while, but Smith gave the Devils the boost they needed to pull away. A tight game turned Duke’s way when Smith heated up, scoring seven points in 1:24 to give the Devils a 49-40 edge with 7:58 to play. Smith scored back-to-back baskets in acrobatic fashion to put the Devils ahead by six, then naliled a three-pointer to give Duke its biggest lead to that point.
E’Twaun Moore answered with a trey for Purdue, but Miles Plumlee threw down a monster dunk to give Duke an eight point lead with 7:19 left. That’s as close as the Boilers would get from that point onward. Duke’s Kyle Singler and Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson would finish the game with 24 and 23 points, respectively, matching their teams’ first-half totals. Singler scored 11 of Duke’s 24 first-half points. Johnson scored 13 of Purdue’s 23.
In his final collegiate game, Purdue defensive standout Chris Kramer wasn’t at his best. The hero of last Sunday’s overtime win over Texas A&M was held scoreless, and was knocked out cold during the second half by Duke center Brian Zoubek on a play that most seemed to think was an illegal screen at best, and an outright cheap shot at worst. (Supposedly, Kramer’s family ran down to the front row and yelled at the officials for several minutes.)
The Boilers wanted ugly – they got it. But it wasn’t quite ugly enough, especially when Nolan Smith’s three pretty plays in a row gave Duke the boost it needed to bust open a tight game at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
Duke will face the Baylor Bears on Sunday. Scott Drew’s team was extremely impressive in dismantling St. Mary’s, 72-49, but Duke, as usual, will be up to the challenge. Jon Scheyer broke out of a long slump during the second half against Purdue, and his scoring will be a welcome element of Coach K’s attack.
Baylor is a deep, athletic team that could give Duke problems, but the Devils will probably be glad not to face a brutally physical team like Purdue once again. However, the Bears are excellent at defending the three-point line with a zone defense, holding St. Mary’s to 27 percent beyond the arc, and should once again have the Houston crowd on their side.
Basketball purists can probably breathe a sigh of relief. Sunday afternoon's game - slated for a 5:05 p.m. Eastern time tip - will undoubtedly be much prettier than Friday night’s Duke-Purdue grinder.
> Find more Big Ten football news online at Big Ten Fans!