There was no Boilermaker Band and no Paint Crew at Mackey Arena Tuesday afternoon but, when the Boilermaker Men’s Basketball team opened their home season against the Golden Grizzlies of Oakland, Junior Guard Sasha Stefanovich was on fire, knocking down five 3-pointers in the first half.
The Boilers started off slow with four turnovers in less than five minutes and even trailed halfway through the first half but they caught their composure, hunkered down on defense and forced the Golden Grizzlies to play at the Boilers’ pace, which saw the Boilermakers go on a 19-3 run and hit 6/8 FG’s at one point and forcing two Oakland shot clock violations.
With Purdue closing the first half at 55% from 3PT and from the field overall and 100% from the free throw line, they just had to keep the consistency up after halftime to start the season 2-1.
Despite their slow start, the Boilers were unstoppable on Tuesday with 51 of their 93 points (over half of them) coming from beyond the three point line and holding the Oakland offense to 33% shooting, out-rebounded them 40-21 and out assisted them 27-11.
For a team that saw their two top upperclassmen- Matt Haarms and Nojel Eastern- transferring out of the Purdue program, the Boilers have found strong players in Freshmen Zach Edey and Brandon Newman as well as the comfort of returning Juniors Sasha Stefanovich and Trevion Williams, who both had strong showings on Tuesday.
The Boilermakers return to the court on Thursday, when they face Valparaiso at Mackey Arena before traveling to Miami next week for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.