November (Space Coast challenge)
Purdue began the 20/21 season as a 9.5 point favorite against the Liberty Flames in the Space coast challenge in late November. Liberty was a good team to open our season against, coming off consecutive ASUN regular season and conference championship wins in 2019 and 2020. The Flames provided a suitable litmus test to see how we would look in this crazy year we had been having. The first thing I have to say about this game is ZACH EDEY! What a great season opener for the freshman by scoring 19 points and going 9/10 on field goals. Zach Edey and the Boilermakers would go on to win the game 77-64 to start the season off 1-0. Unfortunately, the undefeated record did not last too long as we played Clemson in the final of the Space Coast Challenge. Zach Edey would once again be the leading scorer for the Boilermakers as he scored 17 points going 6/8 for field goals. Edey had 8 rebounds in this game against the Tigers; however, Clemson would get the best of Purdue, defeating the Boilermakers 81-70 finishing our November record as a 1-1 team.
After the disappointing loss to Clemson, Purdue would begin season play facing Oakland in what was, as expected, an easy game to bring us our second win. Our point leader for this game was freshman Brandon Newman with 21 points and along with that Trevion Williams had 14 rebounds to bring us to a 93-50 win against the Oakland Bears. Moving on to game number 4, which again was an expected easy win but this time it was a different story. Game 4 was against Valparaiso who, at the end of the first half, was leading the Boilermakers 34-23 in what was looking to be a devastating upset to an instate foe, but luckily Purdue was able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and finish the game 68-61 to bring their record to 3-1.
The next game of December would be somewhat of an important game for the Big Ten as it was the ACC/Big Ten challenge against Miami. The Boilermakers would end the first half with a whopping 32-14 lead against the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes in a second half romp would go on to score 44 points in the to best Purdue 58-54 in a heartbreaking comeback to drop Purdue to a 3-2 record. After that upsetting comeback by Miami the Boilermakers would rebound, going on to win 3 in a row with the first game against a 1-0 Indiana state team, the #20 Ohio State Buckeyes who were 5-0 at the time, and a not so good looking Notre Dame team. Purdue would beat Indiana State 80-68 with Trevion Williams scoring 30 points! After that win, PU would pull the upset themselves against #20 OSU 67-60 to give the Buckeyes their first loss of the 20/21 season. To finish our winning streak, Purdue would beat ND 88-78 in the Crossroads Classic to bring Purdue’s record to 6-2 with 3 games remaining in the month of December.
The next game for the Purdue Boilermakers would be the most difficult opponent the team had faced yet, and that opponent was be the Iowa Hawkeyes as the #4 team in the country. This game was not pretty for the Boilermakers, getting manhandled by Garza and Co. 70-55 in Iowa City. Forgetting that loss, the team would go on to play Maryland on Christmas day, and even with Maryland scoring 42 in the second half, Purdue would hold them off to win the game 73-70 with Brandon Newman scoring 17 points. The 9th and final game of December came against Rutgers who were ranked 14 in the country at the time of playing this game. Trevion Williams had a great game scoring 21 points with 12 accompanying rebounds; despite Purdue scoring 42 in the second half, Rutgers managed to hold off Purdue with the score of 81-76 to put Purdue at a 7-4 record to end 2020.
The new year would not start off as expected for the team, losing to #15 Illinois in a game where Trevion Williams would be the leading scorer for the Boilermakers at 14 points but the team would still lose 66-58 on January 2nd. That would be the last time Purdue would know the bitter sting of defeat for quite some time. The game against Nebraska was unfortunately postponed which brought us to our game against #23 Michigan State and what a game this one was! The first half of this game was shocking to say the least, as the Spartans held Purdue to a lowly 16 points. Trevion Williams came alive in the second half however, scoring 22 of his 26 points, including the game winning points with 4.5 seconds left to give Purdue the 55-54 win against the Spartans. The Boilermakers would bring this momentum to their next game versus Indiana in what was another exhilarating game to watch because there is no greater feeling than to watch Purdue beat the Hoosiers. Trevion Williams scored 22 points and had 10 rebounds. Purdue won 81-69 to bring their record to 9-5.
Next came their match up with Penn State. This time Purdue's Sasha Stefanovic scored 15 points and, I know I've talked about him a lot but, Trevion Williams had another double-double to give Purdue an 80-72 win. A rematch with #15 Ohio State would be next and they wanted revenge for the previous game. This was another contest in which Purdue was trailing at half but this time with a score of 37-31. The Boilermakers trailed the entire game until the end when Jaden Ivey would hit the most beautiful three point shot I have seen in some time to give Purdue a 67-65 win and an impressive sweep against The Ohio State Buckeyes.
Here we are almost all the way caught up, but first we have to talk about the game against #7 Michigan and boy this was not a pretty one. One thing to note was that Trevion Williams was once again the point leader for the Boilermakers collecting 14 points along with his 11 rebounds but unfortunately Purdue could not give Michigan their second loss and the Boilermakers would fall 70-53 to bring us to the present record of 11 wins and 6 losses with 9 regular season games to still be played.
How do you guys think the Boilermakers will finish the season?