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Purdue Men Defend Home Court On Banner Night, 79-57

Casey Abbett

The Purdue Men's basketball team is now 1-0 on the season after a 79-57 win over Wisconsin-Green Bay -- a question easily answered after the unveiling of the team's 24th Big Ten regular season championship banner, commemorating a 2018-2019 season that went better than almost anyone predicted.

Now come the harder questions for Head Coach Matt Painter's team.

The team that earned the banner last season left big shoes to fill as only two starters from that squad remain, Nojel Eastern and Matt Haarms. The team graduated sharpshooter guard Ryan Cline and do-it-all forward Grady Eifert while losing the team's leading scorer Carsen Edwards to the Boston Celtics.

So perhaps the biggest question is: who will step up and take on the scoring responsibilities? On opening night, it was Jahaad Proctor, a transfer from High Point, where he averaged nearly 20 points a game last season. Proctor led all scorers with 26 points.

Younger players taking a step forward include Aaron Wheeler, who scored ten points and pulled down a team high nine rebounds, and Eric Hunter, Jr., who who scored a career high 15 while dishing out six assists. Matt Haarms dominated the game around the basket, totaling 7 blocked shots on the night to go with 16 points and seven rebounds.

The Boilers of last season were an outside shooting team at their core. Game one of this season saw just six makes from beyond the three-point arc, but 44 points in the paint.

The team's defense did struggle at times stopping Green Bay runs. Purdue also finished with 11 turnovers, most of which came in the first half and the beginning of the second.

Purdue will play host to Texas Saturday night in Mackey Arena.

Casey Abbett is a senior at Purdue from LaCrosse, Indiana, and has been been interning as a sports reporter for WBAA since his freshman year.