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Notre Dame manhandles Purdue

Notre Dame forward Jack Cooley left blocks shot Purdue guard Rapheal Davis during second half an NCAA college basketball game

Notre Dame forward Jack Cooley, left, blocks the shot of Purdue guard Rapheal Davis during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Notre Dame defeated Purdue 81-68. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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Updated: January 17, 2013 6:53AM



INDIANAPOLIS — After an especially disjointed, discombobulated possession on which he wanted a foul called against Notre Dame, Purdue coach Matt Painter instead received a technical foul.

Saturday was another exasperating game for the Boilermakers, losing 81-68 to the No. 22 Irish in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Purdue (4-6) again was plagued by poor shooting (25-of-61 from the field for 41.0 percent), particularly to open the second half; and an excessive number of turnovers (15), particularly in the first half.

The highlight for the Boilermakers was the play of freshman guard Rapheal Davis, who scored 21 points in 12 second-half minutes, fouling out with 38.4 seconds left. But by the time Davis caught fire, the Irish (9-1) had all but locked up the win in the first regular-season meeting between the teams since 1966 and the first overall since the 2004 NIT.

“We had nine turnovers (in the first half),” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “I don’t think it’s the effort; it’s the decision-making. … It’s frustrating when you don’t take care of the basketball. It’s an element of the game that you can control. … Once again, I just feel like we’re beating ourselves. I’d like to see a game and have some data, and see when we don’t turn the ball over and see how that would turn out.”

Purdue also went ice-cold to start the second half, going 1-of-15 from the field. During that period, Notre Dame opened up a 56-33 cushion with 10:35 left in the game, with Painter drawing that technical with 13:29 left.

With the Boilermakers facing that 23-point deficit, Davis — who didn’t take a shot in six first-half minutes, before finishing the game 8-of-9 from the field and 4-of-5 from the foul line — began his scoring binge, beginning at the 10:22 mark. He scored 19 of Purdue’s 22 points, making the score 66-55 with 3:16 left. During one stretch, Purdue went on a 16-2 run, with Davis scoring 13 points, to draw as close as 58-49 with 5:40 left.

“I think I can provide it (scoring) coming in,” Davis said. “I know Coach Painter recruited me as a scorer. In this game, the second half, we couldn’t put the ball in the hole and I just wanted to be more aggressive.

“I just got that feeling. Me being a scorer all my life, you just know it’s coming.”

Said Painter: “He had a great game. Rapheal’s a good scorer. He definitely gave us a lift there offensively in the second half. He really got aggressive and attacked the basket. He’s always been a scorer; he’s improving in other areas. That was a pleasant surprise for us. He just needs time, he just needs minutes.”

And will Davis get additional minutes? “We don’t have anyone else scoring 21 points on nine shots,” Painter deadpanned.

Consider Notre Dame coach Mike Brey impressed with Davis.

“He got going, didn’t he?” Brey said. “… You know you’re going to have to fight them off a little bit. But we kept our poise.

“We didn’t expect that out of him, but he was hard to guard.”

If there was ever any doubt about the outcome, the Irish went 16-of-18 from the line over the last 4:35 of the game.

Ronnie Johnson had 15 points for the Boilermakers, and D.J. Byrd added 13. Jack Cooley led the Irish with 18 points and nine rebounds, punishing Purdue inside, often getting the ball on the interior and scoring too easily. Eric Atkins had 17 points and seven assists; Pat Connaughton 16 points; Garrick Sherman 11; and Jerian Grant nine points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Former Purdue player and Valparaiso High graduate Scott Martin had five points and eight rebounds.

“I felt that was really business-like for our team,” Brey said. “We’re an older team. It was men playing like men.”

Around the rim: Purdue redshirt freshman forward Donnie Hale did not play after suffering a right thigh injury. He did not practice all week. … The Boilermakers used their sixth different starting lineup of the season.



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