Notre Dame flexes its offensive power in blowout of Purdue
INDIANAPOLIS – Hope for a close and competitive game in the second part of the Crossroads Classic disappeared in a flash on the Bankers Life Fieldhouse court on Saturday.
To be more specific, a flurry of dunks.
It was a group of the explosive offensive plays that showed the might of one team on that end of the floor and the progress still needed for another. That’s exactly what the team donning the Old Gold jerseys on Saturday was hoping for.
“You saw what we could do offensively,” said Mike Brey of his Notre Dame team that put up 48 second half points and beat Purdue 94-63 Saturday afternoon. “We we get out on the run and share the ball we are really explosive.”
The Boilermakers found out the hard way when they crept within two points of the Irish early in the second half. Notre Dame used it as inspiration along with a quartet of dunks in the early part of the second half to finish the game on a 48-19 run to improve their record to 11-1.
“The one thing you can say about our team is the unselfishness,” said Irish guard Pat Connaughton, who scored 19 points. “We get those plays because of our ball movement, our chemistry playing together and it gets open shots and we have to finish strong when it’s our time to be open.”
Demetrius Jackson led the Irish with 22 points including a huge slam over Purdue big man Issac Haas that gave the game it’s signature moment. The Irish had four dunks in a 15-4 run that blew the game open for good after the Boilermakers had the lead down to two.
“I thought Demetrius really ignited us with his ball pressure and his dunk was probably the exclamation point to kinda say ‘We’re probably going to win it today,’ said Brey of Jackson.
For the game the Irish shot 51 percent from the floor for the game and 54 in the final 20 minutes when they outscored Purdue by 24 points. It didn’t stop till literally the end as the Irish got their biggest lead at 32 points with 1:50 left to go in the game.
It 17 minutes, Notre Dame turned what seemed to be a spirited contest into the biggest blowout in the four-year history of the Crossroads Classic.
“Two bad shots, two turnovers and they dunk it twice and I have to call timeout and it just snowballed from there,” said Purdue head coach Matt Painter. “I felt like Notre Dame stole our spirit and our guys gave in.”
Purdue shot just 32 percent from the field in the second half and hit just a single three-pointer. Through the first 15 minutes of the half Purdue had just 14 points as they watched the Irish race past them for a victory.
“We’ve just got to play hard-play harder and finish games,” said Boilermakers guard Rapheal Davis. “When we get down we can’t just stop playing. We’ve just go to play harder.”
They had a pretty good example to follow in the final 20 minutes when Notre Dame left the ground and never came down in their third-consecutive Crossroads Classic victory.