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Purdue ends slide; tops UNCW 66-40

Purdue needed a Terone Johnson buzzer beating three pointer to take a slim one point lead over UNC Wilmington heading into halftime.  During the final 20 minutes, the Boilermakers dominated and cruised to a 66-40 win.

“We kind of talked about, early on, just doing what we were supposed to do and I don’t think we came out and actually did that,” said Johnson.

“In the second half we came out and got some defensive stops and got good post defense inside and also the guards played good defense. So, that led to points on offense.”

The win ends a two game losing streak for Purdue.

“We had a couple guys in New York (during the 2K Sports Classic) that had a bad trip, but we had those same guys come back and play way better,” Johnson said.  “So I think it’s very important to gain that confidence, but also to learn from this win.”

Johnson scored a game-high 19-points.

None were more important than the three as the clock wound down in the first half.  It not only gave Purdue some momentum, but also ended a 10-0 Seahawks run.

Purdue started fast, but the same problems that plagued them during its two game losing skid – turnovers and rushed shots – reemerged and allowed UNCW to creep back into the game.

“We’ll play real well for an eight minute stretch and then for like four or five minutes, it’s not just that we are ok, we’re bad and we just shoot ourselves in the foot,” said Purdue head coach Matt Painter.

“We’ve just got to do a better job of executing and having longer stretches when we play well.”

In the second half, the Boilers got on track.  They held the Seahawks to just 19-percent shooting after halftime.  It took UNCW more than 10-minutes to score a field goal and Purdue outscored them 37-12 in the final 20-minutes.

Purdue also showed improvement at the free throw line.  The Boilers hit 20-of-24, highlighted by DJ Byrd who went 7-of-8.

Byrd scored ten, his third straight game is double figures.

Travis Carroll added 10 points and grabbed four rebounds and freshman AJ Hammons chipped in nine points, all in the second half.

“I’m really just looking for other people and then that’s what gets me open,” said Carroll. 

“With AJ, he is huge, so that helps a lot” he said.  “In the first half, a couple of his shots, he was kind of going away from the basket, and coaches and us were just telling him ‘go to the basket’ so he started to do that, which is something that he is going to have to keep doing.”

The Thanksgiving Day meals will taste a little better for Purdue with the win, but another daunting non-conference task awaits.

The Boilers will go to Clemson, Wednesday, for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.