Despite finals rapidly approaching, the Paint Crew showed up in full force on Sunday to support the men’s basketball team as it won its first Big Ten conference game of the season against Northwestern University 58-44.
Following a tumultuous first half, the Boilermakers (6-3, 1-0 Big Ten) were able to rally against the Wildcats (4-4, 0-1) to establish a dominant lead in the second half.
“If the ball’s not going in and you’re taking good shots, you got to be positive with your team,” head coach Matt Painter said.
The Boilers struggled to complete their shots in the first half, but in the second they were able to increase their field goal percentage from 31.3% to 39%. The energy in the student section rose as the team was able to make and complete more shots.
“I thought Nojel (Eastern) and Jahaad Proctor and a couple other guys really gave us some energy in the middle of that first half. We really picked it up at that point,” Painter said.
The Boilermakers were able to capitalize on that energy to pull off a win.
Along with an increase in completed shots, the Boilers were able to consistently make more rebounds, more assists and fewer turnovers in the half as well as throughout the game.
“I’m proud of our guys. This is something I think we needed to grow towards, so I’m happy to see that we’re continuing things from the Virginia game,” junior center Matt Haarms said.
The Purdue defense was able to keep the Wildcats stagnant in their scoring.
The Boilers forced minutes-long scoring droughts on the Wildcats five times throughout the game, including two five-minute periods in the first half and a two-minute period that stretched between the two halves of the game.
Purdue also dominated the turnover battle, forcing 12 Wildcat turnovers while committing only six of its own.