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Purdue Battles Back in Win Over Iowa

 

Purdue is learning to play through tough times. 

Five days ago, the Boilers suffered their first home loss since February of 2010 when they fell to Wisconsin 67-62.  What costs the Boilers against the Badgers was a 22-4 first half hole; Tuesday against Iowa, Purdue again had to pull out the shovels and start digging.  But, this time, the Boilers were able to climb to 75-68 win.

“We talked about adversity, yesterday,” said Terone Johnson.  “(Coach Matt Painter) was like ‘are we going fight through adversity or are we going to lay down?’”

Against the Hawkeyes, the Boilermakers fought.

Iowa built an eleven point first half lead, sparked by a 15-3 run.  However, Purdue responded and was able to trim the deficit to five by halftime.

Out of the break, The Boilers played like a team fighting for their season.  They tied the game at 36 after a Ryne Smith three and Kelsey Barlow put-back layup.  Robbie Hummel then scored five straight to lift Purdue to a 41-39 advantage.  The Hawkeyes never regained the lead after that point.

"I thought it was just a total team effort," said Painter.  

Robbie Hummel, who has struggled offensively at times in Big Ten play, put on a vintage performance.  The senior poured in 17-points and grabbed 11-rebounds. He was one of five Boilermakers in double-figures and Travis Carroll scored eight and grabbed five rebounds. 

“He’s finally giving us that solidified five position.  He’s confident.” said Lewis Jackson of Carroll.

Purdue shot better in the second half than the first (45-percent to 36-percent), but it was defense that sparked the rally.  The Boilers held Iowa to just 9-22 shooting in the second frame.  The Hawkeyes also turned the ball over nine times in the final 20-minutes compared to just four assists.

“Our confidence was up because our defense was stopping them with one shot,” said Jackson.  “We were actually getting on the break and having a little fun.”

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said Purdue’s tenacious second half defense wore his team down.

“They erased that five point (halftime) lead quickly and then we seemed to struggle offensively,” he said.  “Some of it was fatigue.  Some of it was poor decision making.  Some of it was, they were executing…At some point, I think you have to give Purdue credit for executing down the stretch better than we did.”

Purdue’s defensive energy carried over into other aspects of the game.

Matt Painter has criticized his team’s focus during stretches this year.  Tuesday, the Boilers won two of the primary effort categories.  The Boilers out rebounded Iowa 41-32, including 16-to-eight on the offensive glass, and shot 25-of-35 from the free throw line (71-percent), which is ten-percent better than their season average.

“We’ve struggled in some areas this year, at times shooting the basketball and free throw shooting period, (but) it can’t dictate your effort, it can’t dictate your hustle plays,” said Painter.  “For us, we got to continue to give effort whether the ball is going in or not.  And when we do that and we make good decisions then we are going to get more possessions and tonight I thought we did that.”

Purdue improves to 14-5 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten.  The Boilers head to East Lansing to face Michigan State, Saturday, at noon.