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Purdue hopes to benefit after long break

Updated: January 30, 2013 6:11AM



Having not played since a Dec. 18 win against Ball State, Purdue attempted to improve during its practices. But the true test about any development won’t come until the Boilermakers (5-6) return to game action.

They play William & Mary (7-3) on Saturday at Mackey Arena, before beginning their Big Ten schedule against Illinois on Jan. 2.

“It’s something that we’ve really been emphasizing and stressing, so it’s not something that we just started doing in the past week,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said when asked about working on fundamentals during the break. “It’s been an issue of ours since Day 1. It really is no different. You like having some time away from games to be able to work on some things. To see strides, you have to do it in a game. … You get tired of talking about it all the time.

“Our strides have to happen during games.”

William & Mary has won four straight games, including its Colonial Athletic Association opener against Old Dominion, and has already eclipsed its win total from last season, when it went 6-26. Sophomore guard Marcus Thornton, a preseason all-conference second-team selection, averages 18.0 points per game for 10th-year coach Tony Shaver. Junior guard Brandon Britt averages 15.0, and junior forward Tim Rusthoven 14.1 and 7.0 rebounds. Junior forward Kyle Gaillard has chipped in 9.4 and 6.0.

“They’ve done a very good job of taking shots within their system that they can make. … Their top four guys are very efficient scoring the ball,” said Painter, noting the Tribe’s Princeton-style offense could be a difficult matchup for the Boilermakers.

Around the rim: With Wednesday’s snowstorm, Jacob Lawson’s flight was canceled and he did not return until Thursday. Also, Sandi Marcius, Donnie Hale and A.J. Hammons were late to Wednesday’s practice because of weather-related travel issues. … Purdue won its only previous meeting against William & Mary, 78-58 in the 2001 Boilermaker Invitational at Mackey Arena. … The Boilermakers have already beaten two CAA teams this season in Hofstra and UNC Wilmington. … William & Mary, founded in 1693, is the second oldest college in the country, after only Harvard.



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