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Three-point Shooting Improves As Purdue Men Beat Ohio

There are a couple main ways in basketball to take a three-point shot.

One is the way Purdue's men's basketball team did it all too often in a messy loss Sunday at Nebraska -- settling for an outside look when the team is not shooting well and when an interior shot against smaller defenders is a much higher percentage play.

The second is the way Purdue did it Tuesday against the Ohio University Bobcats -- using offensive motion to open up easy shots and (at least in the first half) knock them down.

Against the Cornhuskers, Purdue needed 35 attempts to make six threes. They made seven of their 18 tries Tuesday.

In short, the Boilermakers' on-again-off-again outside game was on in a 69-51 road victory (the first time a Big Ten team has played in Athens since 2001). Purdue, which came in 12th out of 14 Big Ten teams in long-range shooting (hitting just 30-percent on the season), improved to nearly 40-percent for the game (even though Ohio made more total shots from behind the arc), and also made the most of sloppy play by the Bobcats.

Guard Eric Hunter led the way, scoring a team-high 18 points, including making four of his five tries from beyond the arc.

For basketball purists who claim too many traveling and double dribble violations go uncalled in today's game, don't tell that to the officiating crew of D.J. Carstensen, Paul Szlec and Bill Ek, who called several of them -- mostly against Ohio -- in the first half, helping Purdue open up a 37-17 lead at the break. It was part of a night where the Boilers pocketed 21 points off of 16 Bobcat turnovers.

Ohio would close the halftime gap to six about midway through the second stanza, helped by making six of nine three-pointers to kick off the second half, but Purdue responded in a way it did not against Nebraska -- by regularly going inside to its big men. Or, rather, big man -- Trevion Williams -- who was forced to play more minutes with Matt Haarms out recovering from a concussion suffered in the second half against Nebraska. Williams scored 14 points and had Ohio starting center Sylvester Ogbanda in foul trouble most of the game.

Purdue's defense also bottled up star Ohio guard Jason Preston, holding him to eight points -- about half his season average.

Purdue moves to 7-4 on the year and next plays Saturday at Indianapolis' Bankers Life Fieldhouse against 17th-ranked Butler.