Purdue pays rare visit to mid-major team
By Michael Osipoff 648-3137, email@example.com December 7, 2012 11:34PM
Purdue head coach Matt Painter calls out instructions to his team during an NCAA college basketball game against Xavier, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. Xavier won 63-57. (AP Photo/Journal & Courier, Michael Heinz) NO SALES
Updated: January 9, 2013 6:13AM
It’s not all that often that Purdue goes on the road to play a mid-major team.
But the Boilermakers travel to Eastern Michigan for a game on Saturday afternoon.
“You need to go on the road, in my opinion, to prepare yourself for the Big Ten,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “This came about not necessarily to help football (the Boilermakers defeated the Eagles 54-16 on Sept. 15 at Ross-Ade Stadium), but to help our athletic department. It made sense.”
Purdue (4-4) is 3-0 all-time against Eastern Michigan (5-2), with all three of those games having taken place at Mackey Arena, including last season’s 61-36 win for the Boilermakers.
The Eagles seem to have made strides under second-year coach Rob Murphy, who was an assistant at Syracuse for Jim Boeheim from 2004 to 2011. Eastern Michigan, which is 5-0 at home this season, lost 84-48 at the No. 4 Orange on Monday.
The Eagles have three players averaging in double-figure scoring, including two who sat out last season after transferring. Derek Thompson, a 6-foot-3 senior guard, averages 13.6 points per game; Daylen Harrison (Wyoming), a 6-6 junior swingman, 12.4; and Glenn Bryant (Arkansas), a 6-8 junior forward, 11.6.
“They’ve added some pieces and that helps, and they have some more size,” Painter said. “And any time you get into that second year, you can really make a jump in terms of being familiar.
“Having been an assistant for Coach Boeheim at Syracuse, their zone is very difficult to attack. … I’ve always tried to get guys to understand that the ball needs to go inside against the zone. You need to be able to get two people to guard one when they have the basketball, and get that zone behind in their rotations. And also don’t settle for 3-point shots; let’s get a quality 3-point shot from a quality 3-point shooter.”
Around the rim: Purdue last played on the road against a Mid-American Conference team on Dec. 9, 2008, a 68-39 win at Ball State. Among other recent road games against mid-majors, the Boilermakers also played Valparaiso at the Athletics-Recreation Center during the 2010-11 season, what would have been Valparaiso High graduate Robbie Hummel’s initial senior season. … Purdue is 52-15 all-time against current members of the MAC. Eastern Michigan is 9-71 against the Big Ten.