Purdue's competitive play not leading to wins

Purdue has played competitive basketball, but it hasn't led to wins.

Inconsistency.

Until Purdue solves this season-long issue, the program will continue to not be relevant in any Big Ten Conference quest for championships.

The Boilermakers got really nice performances from Rapheal Davis, A.J. Hammons and Errick Peck and were in position - really good position - Sunday to upset defensively challenged Iowa in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Trailing 50-37 at halftime, Purdue began the second half on an impressive 27-10 run, taking a 64-60 lead. Iowa, which had lost three in a row, was on the ropes in front of what had become a quiet crowd.

Then, inconsistency reared its ugly head again, and Purdue came up empty on five consecutive possessions, eventually dropping an 83-76 decision to Roy Devyn Marble led Iowa, who had 21 in the Hawkeyes' losing streak snapping victory.

What is most troubling about Sunday's loss is that after playing one of his best games as a Boilermaker in Wednesday night's loss to Big Ten leading Michigan, Ronnie Johnson was the most inconsistent of the inconsistent Boilermakers, failing to make a field goal and turning the ball over seven times in Sunday's loss.

And backup point guard Bryson Scott continues to struggle in Big Ten play, making several really bad turnovers while taking and missing poor shots, which as Matt Painter says, are like turnovers.

While senior Terone Johnson was much better in the second half, he, brother Ronnie and Scott were a collective 0 of 10 from the field during the opening half when the Boilermakers (15-14, 5-11 in the Big Ten) dug themselves into a 50-37 hole.

Yet just when some Purdue fans tweeted me that they were changing the channel to NASCAR, this inconsistent Boilermakers team began the second half by blitzing poor defensive team Iowa 27-10.

For a moment, I was reminded of last season's stunning late in the year upset at Wisconsin, but when Purdue's point guard play suffered a meltdown with a 64-60 lead, Iowa regrouped, relying on Marble and the confidence it has in its offense to outscore the Boilermakers 23-12 the rest of the way, breaking a stretch that included consecutive losses to Wisconsin, Minnesota and Indiana, surrendering 95 and 93 points in the losses to the Gophers and Hoosiers.

So, while Purdue has been competitive in consecutive games against Michigan and Iowa, the bottom line is that each relatively solid effort ended with two more defeats.

Since starting the Big Ten 3-2, the Boilermakers are 2-9 in their 11 most recent contests, beating only Minnesota and Indiana. With Sunday'sdefeat, Purdue slips to 1-7 in Big Ten road games with a game at red-hot Wisconsin coming up on Wednesday night before the reular-season-ending March 9 Senior Day game against Northwestern in Mackey Arena.

Since being crushed a week ago at Nebraska, Purdue has been competitive against two of the Big Ten's four best teams, but because of more glaring issues with inconsistency, the Boilermakers have nothing in the W column to show for it.


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