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Purdue Men's Basketball Doubles Up Samford In Season-Opening Win

Stan Jastrzebski

Though it didn't make a habit of using its two seven-footers together Friday, the inescapable message in an 80-40 Purdue win over Samford Friday night was: size matters.

Samford's only interior presence, 6'10" center Michael Bradley, was tagged two fouls early in the first half and played just seven of the first 20 minutes. The one-dimensional Bulldog offense that followed all but doomed the visitors.

Samford hit two of its first ten shots and grabbed only one offensive rebound in the first half as good  interior defense by the Boilermakers kept the Bulldogs out of the middle and their mid- and long-range shots mostly out of the goal. When Samford did go to the paint, they were more likely to be met with an A.J. Hammons block than they were to score. Hammons registered four of Purdue nine blocked shots on the night, with Samford making just five buckets near the basket. The Boilers outscored the visitors 32-10 in the paint for the game.

Though Purdue jumped out to an early lead, a dunk by Samford's Jamal Shabazz made it 16-11 in favor of the home team with 11:51 to go in the first half, but Purdue then went on a 19-0 run over the next eight minutes, with Samford missing 12 consecutive shots.

Purdue's offense was balanced and efficient. The team's first eight scores came from seven different players. Kendall Stephens hit three of his first four three-point attempts and the Boilermakers made seven of their 13 three-point tries in the first half, on the way to shooting 67-percent for the opening period. Samford managed just 20-percent shooting (6 of 30) in the first half, made just two of its 11 attempts from beyond the arc and trailed 43-16 at the break.

Unable to win battles in the paint, Samford coach (and former Utah Jazz and Houston Rocket) Scott Padgett employed a token full-court press, half-court traps and zone defense on the interior, but Purdue's hot shooting and smart passing made quick work of each as the lead ballooned. Four Boilermakers scored in double-figures for the game, led by 13 points each from Rapheal Davis and Vince Edwards.

Early season games are also a way to get significant minutes for bench players and Purdue coach Matt Painter gave his starters most of the second half off as the lead zoomed past 30 points.

Backup center Isaac Haas, subbing in for Hammons, was a presence on the glass, but showed a need for more polish offensively as he regularly got tied up underneath. However, Haas did some damage from the free throw line, leading all players with nine attempts and making seven on his way to 11 points.

Though the game was played in West Lafayette, it was technically the first game of the Maui Invitational. Regardless of the outcome of the game, Purdue was slated to head to Hawaii to play Kansas State on the 24th.

But before then, the Boilers host IUPUI Sunday and Grambling State Thursday.