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December 6, 2008

Boilermakers stuff Bluff

Post-Game Audio
Players Lewis Jackson, JaJuan Johnson and Chris Kramer
Coach Matt Painter

Purdue committed 22 turnovers, shot 26 percent from three-point range and, for good measure, missed a dozen free throws Saturday night.

In spite of it all, the Boilermakers rolled over an Arkansas-Pine Bluff team decisively overmatched in every phase of the game, as Purdue snapped a two-game losing streak with a 90-42 win.

It was a win that was important for Purdue's psyche following back-to-back losses.

"This helps us a lot mentally," Chris Kramer said. "To come in and win the way we did, it's good for us."

The Boilermakers - playing without Robbie Hummel, sidelined by a bruised back and iffy for Tuesday's road trip to Ball State - compensated for its imperfections by forcing an astonishing 35 turnovers and holding the still-winless Golden Lions to 23-percent shooting.

(Oddly, Pine Bluff, a 17-percent three-point shooting team coming in, made 7-of-18 treys, accounting for half its points.)

"Their team had one primary ball-handler," said Kramer, who didn't start after spending the week battling illness. "We tried to take him away and make their other guys handle the ball."

It worked.

Forward and Fort Wayne native Tyree Glass was the only Lion to do anything offensively, hitting five threes in an 18-point outing. But he also posted the most dubious of double-doubles, turning it over 11 times.

The level of competition left much to be desired, but Purdue played well defensively, a must after its consecutive defeats.

"I thought we did a good job ... getting pressure on the ball, just that initial surge," Coach Matt Painter said. "I think teams are getting things too easily (against Purdue) or we're not disrupting them enough to start their offense. ... Tonight we did a better job of disrupting what Pine Bluff was trying to do."

Playing against a vastly inferior foe after its meat-grinder back-to-back gauntlet of Oklahoma and Duke, Purdue, though sloppy, left no doubt from the get-go.

The Boilermakers scored the game's first 11 points and kept Pine Bluff scoreless through the first seven-and-a-half minutes, opening up a 17-point lead around the half's halfway mark. Purdue ended on a 6-0 run to lead by 21, 44-23, at halftime.

The second half was irrelevant.

With Purdue up 39 with 7:44, Painter cleared his bench, and with seldom-used reserves Chris Reid, Bobby Riddell and Mark Wohlford on the court, the Boilermakers extended their lead to as many as 49.

Sophomore big man JaJuan Johnson was dominant, scoring a career-high 20 points, including a trio of wicked dunks, and grabbed eight rebounds.

Starting alongside his fellow post, Nemanja Calasan dropped in 12 points and corralled a team-best 13 boards as Purdue uncharacteristically pummeled its visitors on the glass, 49-33.

E'Twaun Moore scored 15 and grabbed six steals, but off-set them with seven turnovers.

Marcus Green added 12 points, most of them in garbage tuime, and Keaton Grant chipped in 10 in only 18 foul-plagued minutes.

Purdue won with ease despite being short-handed, with Hummel sitting out, unavailable unless desperately needed.

"We all had to do our part," Johnson said, "do a little more, making the little hustle plays Rob usually makes. It was a team thing. ... Everyone just had to step up."

Hummel said he took a knee to his lower back late in the Duke game, causing persistent pain.

"(Wednesday), I couldn't get out of bed," said Hummel, who said the pain's at its worst when he jumps and, worse yet, when he lands.

The sophomore hopes to play Tuesday night at Ball State.

"I've never really had to sit out," Hummel said. "I've never really been hurt before, so it's something new. I'm just trying to cheer my teammates on."

Additionally, freshman guard Ryne Smith once again didn't dress because of a skin infection on his leg he hopes will clear up soon.

That, in part, meant first-half minutes for Riddell and Wohlford after Purdue's available guards picked up some early fouls.

Kramer played, but only after missing most of the week's practice because of a stomach flu.

"I just tried to battle through it and give my team as much as I could," Kramer said.

Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2008. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing or using editorial or graphical content, in whole or in part, without permission, is strictly prohibited. E-mail GoldandBlack.com/Boilers, Inc.

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