DETROIT, Mich. — It’s not necessarily how you start, but how you finish.
For the Purdue Boilermakers, that rang true on Friday afternoon in their 2018 NCAA Tournament opener against the Cal State Fullerton Titans. The Boilermakers are the two-seed in the East Region, and were taking on the Big West Conference champions, who came into the tournament seeded 15th.
Friday marked the first time that the Boilermakers and Titans have met on the hardwood. While the odds were heavily on Purdue’s side coming into the event, the Titans weren’t lacking confidence in themselves on Media Day.
CALGARY, Alta. — The 2017-18 season is just around the corner, and while there’s a debate on Twitter as to when the season actually starts, it can’t get here soon enough.
Schedules are being released with each passing weekday, and many of them feature early-season tournaments and multi-team events all throughout non-conference play. According to Chris Dobbertean and Blogging the Bracket, there are over 30 multi-team tournaments, and another handful of neutral site showcases and non-exempt events.
So, with the season coming up, we thought we would go through and preview all of the early-season tournaments, the non-exempt tournaments, and a wide array of the neutral site showcase events. In total, we will preview 75 different events over the course of the next 75 days, culminating on opening day.
We selected the events at random, and have broken some up into two pieces, like the Phil Knight Invitational, since there are two separate brackets.
July has come and gone, and for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, that means the 2017-18 season is one step closer.
The Irish have had an eventful summer so far, from multiple commitments, to transfers, to schedule releases. Summer work outs are coming to a close and soon, the players will be sent home until their return this fall to start a new school year.
The likes of the Indiana Hoosiers, Wisconsin Badgers, and Purdue Boilermakers look to be the conference’s best bets to have a Big Ten cut down the nets.
However, the National Championship is still over two months away, and the Big Ten conference is a mess. There’s no clear-cut favourite at this moment in the season, teams are losing games they should win, and vice versa. There are several ‘good’ teams in the conference, but no ‘great’ teams.
Well, if anyone remembered what happened to the Hawkeyes last time they played Purdue, they sure aren’t talking about that anymore. Tough defense, great scorers, and a nerve-wracking ending was exactly what the people watching the most recent game wanted. The Boilermakers needed to take care of business on the road, and the Hawkeyes needed a much needed home win against one of the best teams in the country; and that’s exactly what they did.
From the tip-off the Hawkeyes were in the game, even until half time it was within reach. Peter Jok came out and played exactly like the superstar that he is and the rest of the team rallied behind him. Jordan Bohannon was running the offense to perfection and the pick-and-roll was the Boilermakers’ weakness the entire first half. It was back and forth until the 2:47 mark where Purdue went on a 6-0 run and ended the half up by 9, 47-38.
The first half for Purdue was tense, but they wouldn’t complain going into halftime with a nine point advantage. Caleb Swanigan, Purdue’s superstar big man, had 13 points at the break, and Vince Edwards chipped in 11. They were getting beat by the pick-and-roll, but their offense was shooting the ball well from behind the 3-point line and they were forcing the Hawkeyes to give it all they had.
Three minutes into the second half and three made shots in a row by Jok, and the Hawkeyes were only down by 1, 48-47. With 14:38 left in the game, Bohannon would knock down a much needed 3-pointer to give the Hawkeyes their first lead of the half.
The rest of the game was a back and forth battle of two of the best players in the nation; Jok and Swanigan. Every time the Hawkeyes looked like they would pull away and the crowd would rise to their feet, the Boilermakers would come down the court and knock down a much needed bucket. Fast forward to 11 seconds left in the game and the Hawkeyes were up by 1, 79-78, and Bohannon walked to the free throw line with hopes of putting the Hawkeyes up by three. He went two for two and the Hawkeyes were up by three, 81-78. The Boilermakers came down the court, shot their best shot to tie the game but it was no good and the Hawkeyes grabbed the rebound. The Boilermakers would foul Nicholas Baer with one second left and he would make two free throws to put the nail in the coffin; UPSET COMPLETE.
This win was the Hawkeyes second win over a ranked team this season and puts them at 11-7 on the season, 3-2 in Big Ten play. The best player for the Hawkeyes and for the game was Peter Jok, who had 29 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds. Jordan Bohannon also had a big game with 12 points and 9 assists.
The Boilermakers fall to 14-4, 3-2 in Big Ten play, despite a nice game from their best player. Swanigan posted 17 points and 8 rebounds. Up next for the Boilermakers is a home game against the Fighting Illini from Illinois.
The Hawkeyes will travel to take on a good Northwestern team that has a record of 14-4.
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