Turner and Purdue’s Robbie Hummel went back and forth in a great duel among versatile power forwards. Hummel rang up 35 points. But Purdue was done in by a no-show from center JaJuan Johnson, who had only four points and five rebounds.
The game was part of a tumultuous two days for the top of the Big Ten standings. While Purdue suffered a critical home loss, Wisconsin suffered a big personnel loss. It was revealed Badger forward Jon Leurer will need to have surgery for a broken wrist. Leurer is his team’s top frontcourt player. It all added up to a good week in East Lansing, where Michigan State was the only main contender not to lose a winnable game or a key player. It’s also good news in Illinois, who keeps winning ugly. They held Penn State’s Talor Battle to nine points and pulled out a 54-53 home win over Penn State. The Illini don’t do anything that resembles a conference championship team…except start 4-0 in league play. There’s at least hope in Champaign for when the bigger games come.
Kentucky showed its balance in their 89-77 win at Florida. As much ink as freshman sensation John Wall gets, keep an eye on his running mate Eric Bledsoe. The latter was the star of last night, with 25 points. And the overall ability of everyone in the ‘Cat attack to produce was the other star. Florida lacks the same sort of balance. The backcourt of Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker played well, but Billy Donovan is getting absolutely nothing up front. At 0-2 in the SEC, it’s a long road back to the NCAAs for this program that was at the heights not so long ago.
A couple notable games in the Big 12 last night. Kansas State bounced back from its disappointing loss to Missouri on Saturday, by annihilating Texas A&M. And Baylor, the team whose bandwagon I’ve heartily jumped on for this year, showed it has a lot of maturing to do when they lost at Colorado. You can’t let the guards drive and get to the line the way the Bears did last night.