MILWAUKEE — In the locker room at halftime of No. 19 Purdue's impressive 86-71 win at Marquette Tuesday night, Matt Painter — among others, by the sound of it — told Isaac Haas this: "Be simple."
The Boilermakers' course to victory, then, was just that.
They fed their 7-foot-2, 300-or-so-pounder 'til he was full and the Golden Eagles were, more or less, broke.
Haas led Purdue with 22 points, spearheading a 62-percent shooting performance in the second half, as the Boilermakers surged to their first Gavitt Games victory.
"Just having the threat of Isaac Haas down there was too much for them," Painter said of Haas, who made 8-of-14 shots and all six of his foul shots, shaking off first-half foul trouble. "They didn't have an answer for him and then when they did come and double he did a good job passing the ball before they could bottle him up and got them into rotations."
Marquette cut an 11-point Purdue lead down to just two in the final minutes of the first half; the Boilermakers needed a last-second Carsen Edwards block to even maintain a lead.
In that locker room, then, Purdue made it known to Haas it would need his best.
It got it.
First, he scored on a bunny off foul-plagued Vincent Edwards' assist following an offensive rebound. Then he buried a hook shot, then a dunk, then a lefty hook, expecting double-teams that never came.
"If they're going to stay one on one with him, we're going to give him the ball as much as we can," senior Dakota Mathias said. "Being a good three-point team like we are, teams are going to have to pick whether to double him or stay with us and for the most part I think they stayed with us."
Because of it, Haas carried Purdue to a 9-1 run to start the second half
Marquette answered the run, but the biggest play Haas made in this game might not have been his own bucket.
With Purdue up six with a little more than 13 minutes left, Marquette finally doubled. Haas stepped out of it right of the basket, passed it out to P.J. Thompson, whose man had left him to double Haas. When Dakota Mathias' defender slid over to cover Thompson, Thompson kicked to Mathias, all alone.
Mathias' three-pointer — more than 27 minutes into the game — was Purdue's first of the game and triggered a stretch where the Boilermakers could do virtually no wrong offensively, pushing their lead back into double-figures and keeping it there by simply outscoring the Golden Eagles. Purdue won despite making just four threes, all in the final 13 minutes or so, on 12 tries.
Marquette was red-hot, behind the high-degree-of-difficulty shooting of Andrew Rowsey (25 points) and Markus Howard (24).
Less established teams might have blinked in the face of Marquette's shot-making.
Purdue kept scoring and never stopped.
Early in the second half, it was Haas' scoring; later, it was his passing.
"After (Mathias' three), we kind of picked them apart after that," Haas said. "You have to pick your poison."
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On a night where Vincent Edwards got in early foul trouble then fouled soon after coming back in almost every time — and he still almost recorded a double-double (10 points, eight rebounds) in just 16 minutes — and Haas and Mathias battled modest foul problems themselves, Purdue displayed its balance.
Carsen Edwards shook off a difficult first half — he committed four of Purdue's eight turnovers in the first 20 minutes — to play an excellent second. He finished with 15 points, six rebounds, several passes that led to Boilermaker scores, and just those four turnovers when the second half came to an end.
"He's got a short memory," Painter said. "He's a gun-slinger. Him turning it over or (missing) a tough shot, it would bother other people. He just bounces back and thinks his next one is going in. He's a very confident player. … Sometimes when you have those kinds of starts, you never recover, because it's hard playing on the road."
Mathias chipped in 10 points and backup center Matt Haarms seven during 19 high-quality minutes.
But Grady Eifert was crucial, too, logging 24 minutes amidst Vincent Edwards' foul trouble. Eifert made both his shots, scored eight points grabbed four rebounds and handed out two assists, while also playing sound defense on Marquette forward Sam Hauser, who was 4-of-11.
Eifert was important to Purdue's 34-23 win on the glass, and there were plenty of rebounds to go around, since Marquette shot just over 40 percent.
It was two games ago that Purdue was out-rebounded, at home, by Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
"We focused on practice that whole week (after) and coaches were on us that week: 'We can not get outrebounded like that ever again,'" Eifert said. "Guys took that with pride and focused on that."
Purdue stalwarts Vincent Edwards, Isaac Haas and Dakota Mathias were limited to nine, eight and 11 minutes in the first half, respectively, due to fouls.