By the numbers: Purdue seniors tally up greatness in every way
There were a lot of numbers involved in Purdue’s 84-60 smoke-job of Minnesota Sunday in front of yet another sell-out crowd of 14,000-plus at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette.
The 9th-ranked Boilers (26-5, 15-3 Big Ten) raced out to a 16-point lead in the opening 9:03 and never looked back, as they shot 51.6 percent from the field (48 percent from 3-point range) and only turned the ball over five times against the Gophers (15-16, 4-14).
However, the most impressive and most memorable numbers weren’t tallied on Sunday, they have been accumulated over the course of four seasons, as the current group of Purdue seniors (P.J. Thompson, Isaac Haas, Dakota Mathias, and Vince Edwards) took to the Mackey Arena court one final time and now will go down in Boilermaker lore as one of the all-time great groups to compete for this program.
“I think you’ve got to get out of your own way,” veteran Purdue coach Matt Painter said of what made the group special. “I don’t think self-absorbed people see it that way. You’re constantly thinking about yourself, and I think P.J. Thompson really hit the nail on the head when he said you put others before yourself, and that’s what a good teammate does.
“That’s someone who’s about winning.”
Here is a look at some of the mind-numbing and successful numbers achieved by the Purdue seniors.
This group has won more games (62) on the Mackey hardwood than any four-year group before it.
The Boilermaker victory Sunday snapped a tie with the also-fantastic 2010 and 2011 classes.
“These guys stuck it out,” Painter said. “You talk about transfers, these guys didn’t transfer. They stuck it out. It wasn’t – Isaac Haas played 15 minutes as a sophomore. It wasn’t just an easy road for all of those guys. Dakota Mathias was in and out of our lineup, didn’t always play the first couple years, and it’s kind of a true test to them.
“It’s kind of one of those things where everybody talks about the negative, but I think there’s a lot of positives with this class.”
There may not be anymore significant statistic in the eyes of the “Paint Crew” than this one.
This Boilermaker class beat fierce-rival Indiana five of six times and may get another opportunity to add to that number.
The Hoosiers will open the Big Ten Tournament this week on Thursday (approximately 9 p.m.) by playing the winner of the Minnesota vs. Rutgers game and Indiana will be favored to win that game.
If the Hoosiers are successful, they will advance to play Purdue Friday (approximately 9 p.m.).
That is the number of other teams competing in the Big Ten Conference and this group of Boilermakers has won in every single one of the opposing arenas.
Prior to this season, the foursome had not gained a victory at Michigan, Iowa or Illinois, but Purdue was able to get a hard-fought 70-69 win in Ann Arbor in early January, routed the Hawkeyes (87-64) in Iowa City and survived in Champaign (93-86) earlier this week.
This is the total number of victories achieved by this group with only 35 defeats for a 74 percent win rate.
Purdue needs to win seven more games to tie the all-time mark held by the 2011 class, while the 2012 (104 wins) and 2010 (103) classes aren’t far behind.
The Boilermakers could play a potential three games in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament, as well as six possible NCAA Tournament games.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was effusive in his praise of the Boilermakers after beating Purdue 68-65 in East Lansing earlier this month and he believes that this team has a lot of basketball left in it.
“I loved the way those seniors react,” Izzo said of Purdue. “I love what they do. I just, every one of them does something good.
“I think that is definitely, in my humble opinion, a team that has a chance to make a deep, deep run and be a Final Four team.”
The four seniors have been a versatile group that is capable of doing a lot of things well on the basketball court. However, they did manage to score almost 5,000 points (and will surpass that amount before the season is over).
This number breaks down to an average of 36.1 points per game over the past four years.
The Boilermaker seniors have also grabbed almost 2,000 rebounds (1,984) and also passed for 1,133 assists.
As a group, they are also deadly accurate from long range having made over 40 percent of their 3-point attempts (having taken 1,163 of them).
“It’s a special day,” Painter said of Senior Day. “It’s kind of – it’s disappointing. You spend so much time together and then it’s your last game playing in your home arena. But you know, I really don’t reflect on it like that, while you’re going through it, because you move towards the Big Ten Tournament. You move towards the NCAA Tournament after that. I think you reflect on it when they can’t play anymore. That to me is when it hits home, especially going into the next year when you start to think about, what are we going to do.
“They’ve been a big part of that now for four years.”
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