When 11-0 West Virginia came to play the undefeated Purdue Boilermakers, they knew they would have a difficult task in beating the nation's #4 team. From the opening tip, the #6 Mountaineers looked overmatched. The final score - Purdue: 77. West Virginia: 62 does not tell the whole story; Purdue forced West Virginia into 17 turnovers and under 40% shooting in the first half. The Boilermakers led by as much as 25 in the second half. Simply put, Purdue dominated one of the nation's top teams.
Purdue's defense was stifling; their man-to-man is hands down the best in the nation but they can hurt you with their offense as well. The key to their team's success is their defense, which leads to their dominance on offense. Their solid D enables them to push the ball in transition and capitalize off of turnovers. They excel in the half-court - shooting well from outside, getting into the paint and finishing at the rim.
Purdue used a variety of scores-and-stops throughout the game to extend their lead over WVU. The Boilermakers held West Virginia scoreless for nearly five minutes in the first half, while punching in 13 points and forcing five turnovers during that span. Purdue contested every West Virginia jump shot and challenged each lay-up. West Virginia routinely caught the ball with their backs to the rim, protecting the ball from the Purdue defenders and starting to run their offense nearly 25-feet from the rim due to the Boilermaker pressure.
More Purdue defense and energy sparked a 14-2 run to begin the second half. They were able to force West Virginia into two consecutive turnovers, which led to a thunderous dunk by Purdue Guard Keaton Grant and an open 3-pointer for Ryne Smith. In less than three and a half minutes, Purdue's lead ballooned from five points to a 17 point advantage.
Inside, West Virginia had no answer to Purdue's JaJuan Johnson. On defense, the Mountaineers were switching on screens and the Purdue Guards were constantly looking to lob the ball inside, getting the 6'10" Junior easy dunks and lay-ins. He dominated the paint on offense and patrolled the lane on defense, finishing the game with 25 points and 10 rebounds.