WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue's offense is good, it's impressive even when the Boilermakers are missing shots. The Boilers were plenty impressive against a long, athletic Florida State defense in the opening half tonight, but they missed way too many shots for anyone's comfort.
Still, thanks to some heroic outside shooting from Jaden Ivey and a crowd-pleasing run to end the first half, the Boilermakers lead 48-32 at halftime. Ivey is 3 for 3 from 3-point range, including a 28-foot bomb as the shot clock wound down. Those outside shots, combined with a pair of nasty early blocks that coaxed the capacity Mackey Arena into a full-fledged roar, make it seem as though a special night might be in the offing for Ivey, who has 13 points at the break.
It was pretty clear early on that – despite coach Matt Painter's worries – Florida State is not Kryptonite for the Boilermakers' high-scoring offense. The Seminoles have, as expected, pressured on the perimeter, making every swing pass a chore and getting their fair share of tips. They are active, they fly around and they've caused a few turnovers in the open court. In other words, a typical Florida State team that could make a run to the NCAA Tournament's second week.
Purdue is just better. The Boilermakers have moved the ball like the experienced, poised team they are and they have been able to get plenty of good looks from inside and outside. They've knocked down a few, including the 3s for Ivey and back-to-back long balls for Isaiah Thompson that stretched the lead to as many as 13 at one juncture. But they've also missed more than a few open 3s and center Zach Edey, the recipient of a boatload of lob passes over the top because the Seminoles are for some reason stubbornly fronting him with little weakside help, has missed a couple of shots right next to the basket that could have stretched the lead further. Ivey also missed a wide-open dunk, throwing it off the back of the rim after a ridiculous outlet pass from Trevion Williams. It's wild to consider, but Purdue is shooting 63% from the field and yet feels as though it has missed some opportunities. That's how many good shots this offense generates.
The biggest issue for the Boilermakers so far is turnovers; not necessarily the number of turnovers (seven, which isn't outrageous against a team like FSU), but the circumstances in which those giveaways have happened. They're almost all coming in the open court and Florida State has taken advantage, getting a handful of run-outs for easy baskets that have helped the Seminoles stay within striking distance. Florida State has a 16-0 advantage in points off turnovers and those layups, combined with the misses inside have kept this lead from growing to 20 or 25 points.
Purdue is playing relatively good defense in the halfcourt and the Seminoles have also just made some pretty tough shots. This game feels like a blowout, but Florida State is not quite out of it, especially if the Boilers do go cold from outside sometime in the second half. Purdue is the better team, but there are some areas to tighten up before it can close this one out. Still, there's plenty to like about this performance thus far.