After a series of dominant performances as Team USA’s representative in the World University Games, Purdue left Taipei with a silver medal following an 85-74 loss to Lithuania in the gold medal game.
Carsen Edwards finished with 23 points while Isaac Haas chipped in with 17 and Vince Edwards finished with 16.
Overall, the trip was a promising one for the Boilermakers, who, at least on paper, look like they’ll be able to survive the departure of Caleb Swanigan as an NCAA tournament team with the potential to climb into the top 25 and compete with Minnesota and Northwestern as Michigan State’s biggest Big Ten challenger. We know what they’re going to be — team that plays with two points guards and parks four sharp-shooters around Isaac Haas — and on the nights when those threes are falling, they are going to be tough to beat.
As a team, they were 16th nationally in three-point percentage last season, and they shot better than 43 percent from beyond the arc on this trip. Where they may struggle is when teams go big against them and pound the glass. In the finals here, Lithuania had 17 offensive rebounds.
Overall, this loss should not be all that concerning. Lithuania is one of the best basketball nations in Europe. Their roster is full of players that could compete at the high major level, including Notre Dame’s starting center, Martinas Geben.
What’s more important is that the Boilermakers essentially got a month-long head start on trying to figure out how they are going to replace Swanigan in the games that actually matter.