Boilermaker Basketball!

Purdue @ Penn State - January 23, 2008

You may or may not know that I had basketball season tickets for all four years that I was a student at Purdue. I don't think I missed a game. My senior year, after toiling in the nosebleeds for 3 years, a couple of friends and I had seats together in the front row behind the basket in the student section. We were on TV for practically every game, which we taped and then watched immediately after returning. I even put together a highlight reel of all the times we were on camera and spliced in Queen's "We Are The Champions" behind the footage because Purdue won their 3rd consecutive Big Ten Championship that year. Those were good, good times. After the very last home game that season (against Minnesota), we all hung around well after the game and went down to the court and walked around, sat on the bench and basically just didn't want to leave. It's stupid, but we're guys. I have only been to one Purdue basketball game since graduating - @ Penn State back in February of 2004 - and that game was kinda boring, though still a Boiler victory. That team wasn't great (lost 1st round NIT) and Penn State was much worse, and I didn't have my camera for that one. So it's been 4 years since I've seen them play (though it felt like much longer) and this time was only the 2nd since 1996. I brought my camera and wore two Purdue shirts. I was very excited.

Pre-game Penn State intros! Ooooooh, dramatic! Dramatically empty of fans!

The Nittany Lion mascot is a blur as he whips the capacity crowd into a frenzy.

PSU Cheerleaders and the PSU Dance Team, the Lionettes (shouldn't that be the Lionesses?), converge at center court... to welcome the Boilermakers!

Pre-game warm-ups! Nemanja Calasan with the lay-up. The Nittany Lion is bewildered.

JaJuan Johnson this time. Nice form.

Bring it in!

Introducing the starting five!

Boilers, on three!

Opening tip! We totally lost that one.

Penn State's little punk point guard (freshman Talor Battle, 12) gets past Keaton Grant (5) for a nice little floater early in the first half.



Dude, timeout!

Drive & dish - Scott Martin with the kick-out.

Chris Kramer (3) with the fast-break lay-in; ball still in net.

E'Twaun Moore (33) and the Boilers defend an inbounds play.

Purdue had some hot 3-point shooters and solid defense to go along with sloppy play and poor shooting from Penn State to take a commanding 39-18 halftime lead.

The halftime show was an exhibition game between these two pee-wee league teams! Total awesomeness! I took more pictures of these kids than I did the real game. Check 'em out!

Scramble for a loose ball!

For three!

Fast break! (he biffed it).

Even better fast break! (he biffed that, too. I yelled at him to dunk it).

Midway through the 2nd half, they brought out a large stack of these pizza boxes... what the hell for? Those little cheerleaders can't be that hungry. They sat there for a little while. Is there actually pizza in there?

Kramer with the ball on the wing, running the offense, as Robbie Hummel (4) cuts through the lane.

Hummel for three from the corner!

OK, so the cheerleaders took all the pizza boxes around the crowd during a timeout and handed them out to whomever they thought was deserving of free food. And yes, the pizza was real (I thought maybe it was just a box with a coupon for a free one inside) - this kid scored one and shared with his dad. Couldn't have been too fresh!

For the first 6 1/2 minutes of the 2nd half, Purdue scored 9 unanswered points and was up 48-18 before Penn State finally got a bucket.

JuJuan Johnson (25) goes skyward to collect the offensive board.

For three! (E'Twaun Moore, I think).

Scrub time - Chris Reid (55) asks for the ball in the post from Bobby Riddell (11).

Johnson with the free throw as time is winding down.

Purdue slowed things down quite a bit on the offensive end in the 2nd half and won 64-42, giving ample playing time to lots of 2nd and 3rd stringers. New coach Matt Painter, in his 2nd full season as head coach, has done quite a nice job recruiting talented players and getting everyone to play some good ball. It's a little weird seeing him as a coach - he was the starting point guard of the Purdue team my freshman year (his senior year). He wasn't the best player, and honestly I found him a little annoying because he seemed kinda whiney. He's doing all right, though. He's a pretty intense coach, too. See ya come tourney time!