WKU Basketball: Johnson Leads Toppers To Upset Victory Over Purdue, 77–73

After playing competitively on Wednesday and falling to #5 Villanova by single-digits in the first game of the Battle 4 Atlantis, the Toppers came back to action with vengeance on Thanksgiving evening against #18 Purdue, who they held at arms-length for a majority of the contest in a 77–73 upset victory.

In fact, Purdue held just one lead — a 3–2 lead with 18:55 to play in the first half — over the Tops’ who opened the game with the first basket of the evening, and after that 3–2 deficit, never looked back.

If there was something you’d like to have seen improved upon from the Nova game, it was cleaned up against the Boilermakers. Especially on the offensive side of the ball, where the Tops’ passing was crisper and more decisive than it was yesterday, when the passes looked a bit lazy as if the Tops were taking any space they had on the court for granted.

Another big improvement from the Nova game was the play inside the paint — not only did Dwight Coleby (who was limited due to foul trouble) and Justin Johnson combine to do some good work down low, but Johnson in particular looked more confident when he had to make a play towards the rim. Not just that, but the Tops outscored the ‘Makers in the paint, 38–26.

Also, can we officially welcome Jake Ohmer to the season? My man shot lights out — 5-of-6 from the floor and a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range and he added a pair of free throws to total 15 points. While he did a majority of his damage in the first half, it was enough to pace WKU to a sustainable enough lead that they were able to fend Purdue off when they made a run in the second half.

The leading scorer for the Tops was Johnson, who notched 17 points to accompany his nine rebounds (which also was not just a WKU team high, but a game high on the glass).

Taveion Hollingsworth had a good game, and that’s good news. He put up 15 points on 50% shooting and added six rebounds, also going 2-for-3 from the charity stripe.

While some of the numbers are very impressive, no one really exceptionally stood out — some guys had solid moments or solid elongated stretches of play, but this was a team effort and it really needed to be.

It’s by far the most complete performance we’ve seen this year for WKU, and may just be the most complete performance we’ve seen for quite some time.

Tomorrow wraps up the B4A, and WKU will get the winner of Arizona/SMU tomorrow at 6 p.m. CT (the same time the football squad is set to due battle with FIU).

We know you have thoughts and feelings about this one, so let us have them — hit us up in a comment, on Twitter or over at Facebook.

Tonight’s final stats:

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