First half analysis

D.J. White awaits his turn to enter the game while Kelvin Sampson coaches.

It’s the first half I’m sure many of you expected: a Big Ten grinder. Both teams came out tight, mostly Indiana, and Purdue took advantage of several IU turnovers and raced to a 10-4 lead. The Hoosiers finished the half with 12 turnovers, Purdue only two.

But the Hoosiers battled back. The crowd got behind them and Eric Gordon and Armon Bassett hit some big shots. Perhaps the biggest play of the first half came from Lance Stemler. After making a lazy pass to Bassett at the 3:32 mark, he raced back downcourt as Purdue looked for the fast break score. Stemler blocked the shot- the first block he’s had in as long as I can remember- then ran back downcourt, set up behind the line, and drained a 3-point shot. Stemler’s three gave the Hoosiers back the lead and they didn’t relinquish it the rest of the half.

To win, Indiana needs to establish D.J. White down low. Purdue doesn’t have a player who can play him straight up, and if he’s able to attack offensively, it will get the Boilermakers in foul trouble and start sending IU to the line. Eric Gordon also needs to look to score, because when he does this he’s tremendous at getting the opponent in foul trouble and scoring from the charity stripe.

Should be a great second half.