WEST LAFAYETTE – One of the most tumultuous weeks in recent IU men’s basketball memory was put to rest Saturday, as the Purdue Boilermakers (15-10, 5-7) pummeled the Hoosiers (14-11, 4-8) 82-64 in front of an impassioned Mackey Arena crowd.
The disastrous week began Wednesday, when the Hoosiers saw a 13-point second half lead dissipate in the final moments against Penn State.
Then, on Friday morning, sophomore forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea was arrested on an OWI charge.
Friday night, less than 24 hours until it was to play its biggest rival, IU Coach Tom Crean announced via Twitter that Mosquera-Perea would not travel with the team and would be suspended indefinitely.
This was all just a precursor to what was about to play out in West Lafayette. Purdue – which had lost four straight games to the Hoosiers, including a 97-60 romp at home on Jan. 30, 2013 – went on an 22-4 run that spanned the final minute of the first half and continued into the second.
While Purdue coasted to a double-digit victory in the latter half of the second, its fans continued on with their vitriol towards IU. A seething student section brought out several anti-IU chants, from “IU sucks,” “Sheehey sucks,” and “Ball State’s better.”
After the game, sophomore Austin Etherington said he felt his team didn’t return Purdue’s punch it dealt the Hoosiers coming out of halftime.
“The first half we fought pretty hard and we thought we were right there,” Etherington said. “Then they went on the run to start the second half and we didn’t take the hit, we didn’t fight back like we should have and it got to where it was.”
Freshman forward Noah Vonleh scored the game’s first points, a 3-pointer in the face of Purdue’s A.J. Hammons. Vonleh outscored Hammons 14 points to five, yet both big men were forced to sit out periods of time due to foul trouble.
On its next possession, senior wing Will Sheehey connected on a corner 3-pointer, which vaulted him into IU’s 1,000 point club. Sheehey finished with 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting, and he now has 1,009 career points in an IU uniform.
Besides Sheehey’s accomplishment, not much else went right for the Hoosiers.
From the two minutes and 33 seconds mark in the first half until the 13 minutes and four second mark in the second half, the Hoosiers were held without a field goal. During that nearly 10-minute span, Purdue went on a 22-4 scoring run before a Ferrell 3-pointer ended it.
Ferrell, who had a game-high 27 points on 6-for-17 shooting, said after the game he felt most of IU’s problems were mental mistakes.
“I feel like its mostly mental,” Ferrell said. “Especially when team’s make that run, guys kinda get quite on the court.
“You know those are times when you’ve got to come together at our greatest moment…when team’s make runs like that, we’ve just got to have that more of an edge to come back.”
For the game, Purdue went 25-for-52 from the field and 10-for-18 from beyond the arc. The Boilermakers, who entered Saturday’s contest shooting 33 percent from 3-point range, made 55.6 percent of its 3-pointers. Sterling Carter Purdue with a team-high 19 points, going 5-for-6 from 3-point range.
IU Coach Tom Crean, who said he and his staff counted 12 missed IU layups, said his team needs to gain confidence from one another.
“The bottom line is, you get your strength from your teammates,” Crean said. “You gotta shut out the negativities and the doubts as much as you can and then you can’t let them creep in when the game’s going on.
“We’ve gotta get more strength and confidence from our teammates on the floor.”