Men’s basketball: Purdue’s defense stifles Penn State
By Michael Osipoff 648-3137 or firstname.lastname@example.org January 13, 2013 10:52PM
Purdue guard Ronnie Johnson, right, attempts to hold off Penn State guard Kevin Montminy in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind., Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Updated: February 15, 2013 6:24AM
WEST LAFAYETTE — How much does Penn State miss All-Big Ten guard Tim Frazier?
Suffice it to say, quite a bit.
Purdue stifled the offensively challenged Nittany Lions in a 60-42 win on Sunday at Mackey Arena. The Boilermakers (8-8, 2-2 Big Ten) held Penn State (8-8, 0-4) to 25.9 percent shooting (15-of-58), beating the Lions for the eighth time in the last nine games in the series and for the seventh straight time at home.
Sophomore guard D.J. Newbill entered the game averaging 15.3 points, and had nine on 3-of-12 shooting against Purdue; junior guard Jermaine Marshall entered the game averaging 14.5, and had eight on 3-of-13. Brandon Taylor actually led Penn State with 11 points, all in the first half, on 4-of-14 shooting.
“First and foremost, you have to keep in perspective for Penn State losing such a quality player in Tim Frazier,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said.
“They (Newbill and Marshall) are not point guards, and we wanted to try to get up to them and just try to disrupt to the best of our ability and just try to wear them down, kind of like a boxing match.”
In addition to Purdue pressuring Penn State’s guards, freshman center A.J. Hammons was a presence inside, with a career-high five blocked shots, to go along with 12 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
“Big A.J. helped down low on their drives,” said freshman point guard Ronnie Johnson, who paced a balanced Boilermakers offense with 13 points. “He was there.”
Said Painter: “I think A.J. Hammons has a chance to be a special player.”
D.J. Byrd had 12 points for Purdue — which shot 45.1 percent (23-of-51) from the field, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range, and outrebounded Penn State 42-33 — and freshman Rapheal Davis added 10. Davis made his second career start, and first in conference play, as Purdue used its seventh lineup of the season.
“I thought he played harder than the other guys,” Painter said when asked about Davis starting, after the Boilermakers had used the same lineup the previous six games. “That was an easy statement. ... When guys are out there and they’re more productive and they’re playing harder and they’re trying to do what we’re asking them to do, they need to be rewarded. I just tried to play the guys I thought gave us the best chance to win, and he was one of them.
“Rapheal Davis has just continued to keep a good attitude and play hard. He gives us energy.”
Save for a few hiccups — such as committing nine of their 14 turnovers in the first half, and shooting a dismal 10-of-21 from the foul line — after three consecutive games against ranked opponents, the Boilermakers did what they should have done against a team that figures to finish toward the bottom of the conference standings.
Purdue used a 9-2 run to break a 9-9 tie, then reeled off nine straight points to lead 30-19, before Taylor hit a midcourt heave as time expired in the first half. If there ever was any doubt about the outcome, the Boilermakers went on a 13-2 run to lead 49-30 with 7:35 left in the game.
“They played hard and they played together, and that’s what I’m trying to get my team to do,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “But when your two best players are not producing, it’s going to be a challenge to score, and that’s why you see 42 points. But give Purdue credit.
“If you make shots, the game becomes very, very simple. And for whatever reason, we are not making shots right now. ... We’re finding our way.”