Monday, February 2, 2009

Intensity Comes to Mackey

Saturday's men's basketball game was intense to say the least. The game versus Michigan started off well for Purdue. They kept Michigan scoreless for the beginning of the first half. However, they only managed to score four points for themselves in this amount of time. While neither team was scoring many points, it still looked like a win for Purdue. I mean, what fan wouldn't think this of their team? Before long though, Michigan had caught up. The score was kept close from then until halftime.

Just before the half, Purdue's Robbie Hummel reached for the ball and was knocked to the ground by one of Michigan's players. Hummel, who has been having back problems recently, laid there on the court until after the buzzer sounded. Meanwhile, Michigan dribbled down the court to make a basket, putting them in the lead at 26-25. It was questionable as to whether they scored the points before time ran out, so the referees had to review the play. Purdue coach, Matt Painter, was also arguing with the officials at this time because he believed that Hummel had been fouled when he was knocked to the ground. All this cause the fans and especially the Paint Crew to boo continuously for several minutes. It was so loud that you couldn't even hear "Hail, Purdue!" as the team left the court.

After halftime, Michigan went to the line to shoot free throws from a technical foul. We wondered where this technical came from. The half had just started, and no plays had been made. Had the NCAA made a new rule against booing and called this foul on the Paint Crew? Later my friend and I found out from another fan that the technical was called on Painter. Evidently his arguing at the half had gotten out of control, but he was just trying to defend his players.

No one expected what was to come next. When Manny Harris received the ball from one of his teammates, he turned hitting Chris Kramer square in the nose with his elbow. Kramer immediately fell face down on the court. I did not get to see the play due to a tall guy with big curly hair in front of me, but I knew that whatever happened wasn't good. People started to stand on the bleachers in order to get a better view. Once I got a chance to see, I saw Kramer just lying on the court. He wasn't moving, and I was worried. I hoped that wasn't hurt too badly. He had blacked out, and when he came to, he found himself in a pool of blood. He rolled onto his back, and the crowd gasped as they saw the blood on his face and the court. The trainers treated him while the referees decided what to do. The Paint Crew had an idea. They started chanting, "Throw him out!" in reference to Harris. And that is what in fact happened. While this seems like a harsh punishment, I couldn't imagine how the fans would have treated him the rest of the game if he had stayed in.

After this, I figured that Hummel and Kramer would both be out for the rest of the game. However, it was Hummel who shot the free throws for the technical called on Harris. The team played with more intensity than ever going on a 30-8 run. Kramer also came back into the game wearing a face mask with a little less than 15 minutes to play. Even though you could tell the mask bothered him, Painter would not take him out. There was no way Michigan was going to win. Kramer was taken out with two minutes left to play in order for the bench warmers to get some time on the court. The Boilers went on to add a 67-49 victory to their record.

In a post game interview, player from both Purdue and Michigan agreed that Harris's punishment was probably too severe, but there was nothing they could do about it. The referees thought that it was intentional, so they just did what they thought was needed. Kramer's nose ended up being broken, and he had to have surgery on Wednesday. Last I heard, he was in a lot of pain. He is still able to play but has to wear a protective mask for the next three weeks, and will have to have another surgery most likely after the end of the season.