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February 21, 2009
Purdue handles IU
Players E'Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson and Chris Kramer
Coach Matt Painter
IU coach Tom Crean
It may not have been the one-sided affair many expected, but Purdue left no doubt in beating Indiana 81-67 in Mackey Arena Saturday afternoon.
Behind E'Twaun Moore's 26 points, the Boilermakers led from start to finish in beating their intrastate rival, leading by as many from 15.
The sophomore guard was due for an offensive eruption.
"Earlier in the year," Coach Matt Painter said, "I thought it was just a matter of time before he had a big-time game."
Moore saved it for his team's struggling primary rival, taking control of the game from its opening seconds.
Hitting back-to-back three-pointers in the game's first two minutes, Moore gave Purdue an immediate 6-0 lead. He scored eight of its first 11 points and 11 of its first 16, finishing the half with 18 on 7-of-9 shooting.
"I took some shots I'd taken in earlier games, and just didn't knock down before," said Moore, whose shooting percentages have dipped this season. "I was lucky enough for some of them to fall early, and after the first couple fall, the rest feel easier."
Moore did make it look easy, finishing with his season-high 26 on 10-of-14 shooting. He made 5-of-6 three-pointers, including his first four.
"When a player gets hot like that," big man JaJuan Johnson said, "you just keep feeding him the ball. He was carrying us."
Moore's first-half dominance carried the Boilermakers to a lead that reached 11 in the opening 20 minutes. But Purdue could never separate for the sort of blowout fans hoped for against a struggling Hoosier team that came in with a 6-19 record and only one Big Ten victory.
"We felt in the first half as a (coaching) staff that we just outscored them," Painter said, "because we weren't getting (defensive) stops."
IU hung around largely by sneaking in for four offensive rebounds that led to easy hoops.
"Our defensive rotations were slow," Chris Kramer said, "and their big guys were hanging around the basket for easy putbacks."
As the outcome was never in doubt, the second half looked a lot like the first, as Purdue opened a lead that reached 15, but struggled to stop Indiana defensively.
After Bobby Riddell's three-pointer at the 13-minute mark put the hosts up 14, 53-39, Purdue led by double-digits for most of the half. But IU got within nine on four occasions, after which the Boilermakers answered each time.
The final minutes saw IU fouling until virtually the final second and benefiting from Purdue's glaring weakness on this day: free-throw shooting.
The Boilermakers made just 18-of-33 of them.
"Your honest feelings are that we should have played harder, we should have played better and we should have played better defense," Painter said when asked about his team's effort, "but when you miss free throws, it just takes wind out of your sails. You do positive things, then come out with zero points. It's hard.
"If we could have made our free throws today, it would have been a different game. That part was frustrating as a coach, as a player, as a fan, frustrating for everybody. Everybody says, 'Hey, I can make a free throw.' It's part of the game. You have to be able to step up there and make it and try to penalize a team for fouling you."
After Purdue made just two out of six from the stripe, including a missed front end, between the two- and one-minute marks, the Boilermakers were 8-of-8 in the final 50 seconds to close out the double-digit victory.
In addition to Moore's brilliance, Johnson scored 14 points to go along with 10 rebounds and five blocked shots. Marcus Green gave the Boilermakers nine points, five rebounds and two assists off the bench.
Kramer and Riddell each scored seven, with Kramer adding four assists and five steals in only 23 foul-hampered minutes.
If Purdue will look unfavorably back on something other than free-throw shooting against IU, it'll be its defense.
"Defensively," Kramer said, "we weren't as sound as we were against Michigan State."
Indiana shot 50 percent from the floor and routinely got clean looks on the interior, including the four easy putbacks. The Hoosiers committed 16 turnovers, below their season average of more than 18. Purdue struggled to keep freshman guard Verdell Jones (16 points) contained.
But the Boilermakers consistently answered the Hoosiers' scoring, making 57 percent of their shots, including 7-of-13 three-pointers.
Nevertheless, the 14-point margin didn't meet projections of a much more one-sided romp.
"Everybody did expect us to come out and win soundly," Kramer said. "That's what everybody was saying, but that's why you come out and play the games. It's college basketball.
"They played well today and it wasn't our best night. But E'Twaun made enough plays and our team made enough plays to pull out the victory."
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