Freshman Rapheal Davis providing spark for Boilers
By Michael Osipoff 648-3137 or firstname.lastname@example.org January 15, 2013 7:14PM
Purdue guard Rapheal Davis gets a bucket against Ohio State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind., Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Ohio State defeated Purdue 74-64. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
The Big Number
Purdue is shooting 63.2 percent from the free-throw line, second-worst in the Big Ten with Wisconsin at 61.4. The Boilermakers went 10-of-21 from the foul line against Penn State.
“You just try to work with each guy on doing their routine and being set,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “You have to do the same thing every single time. Nobody can make you feel good at the free-throw line; you have to put in your time and get there. If there’s a mechanical issue, as a coach, we try to help them with that. But it’s more of just getting to the line, doing your routine and staying consistent.”
Purdue has cut down on its turnovers since earlier in the season, and has been a better rebounding team in general than it has been in recent seasons. What’s the Boilermakers’ next main area for improvement?
“Probably shot selection,” Painter said. “We took a real step back against Ohio State. I knew we took some poor shots against them, but after watching the film, it was alarming to see the bad shots that we took. We had some guys really abuse the freedom that they have on offense. If they just take their time a little bit and move the ball just a little bit more when it’s not there, we’re going to get a good shot.”
Updated: February 17, 2013 6:38AM
With the insertion of Rapheal Davis into the lineup against Penn State, Purdue started three freshmen for the first time this season (not including redshirts), joining center A.J. Hammons and point guard Ronnie Johnson.
Coach Matt Painter wanted to reward Davis for his continued work ethic and attitude, and performance on both ends of the court. Also, the Nittany Lions afforded the Boilermakers an opportunity to employ an undersized unit that included the 6-foot-5 guard playing power forward.
“He had more of a fight to him (against Ohio State), and that’s what we need as a team; we have to have more of a fight to us as a team while still playing intelligent basketball,” Painter said. “Ray gave us a better chance to win. He helped us with our matchups.
“If we have some bigger guys that aren’t going to rebound, we might as well be smaller and help us on the perimeter defensively. If those big guys want to rebound, then they have the best of both worlds. But they haven’t been doing that, and I can’t sit back and wait all year for it.”
Davis responded in his second start and first in Big Ten play, after he also got the nod against Hofstra in the second game of the season.
He played 22 minutes against Penn State, matching a season high against William & Mary, posting 10 points and five rebounds. Sophomore forward Jacob Lawson, who had started the previous six games and 10 overall, played seven minutes; and redshirt freshman Donnie Hale, with five starts to his credit, played 14 minutes.
“I feel like we’re coming together more as a team, we’re becoming a family,” Davis said. “We’re starting to co-exist better — better and better every week. We’re starting to feel like brothers. We’re all starting to move together and play together more.”
Davis could be back in a starting role for Purdue (8-8, 2-2 Big Ten) on Wednesday night at Nebraska (9-8, 0-4), a team that very likely will be without 6-10 senior forward Brandon Ubel (12.1 points, 6.8 rebounds). He sat out the Cornhuskers’ 66-56 loss at Michigan State on Sunday — first-year coach Tim Miles’ team acquitted itself relatively well in a game in which it essentially used seven players — after he fractured his elbow in their previous game at Michigan, with no timetable for his return announced. Senior guard Dylan Talley averages 13.6 points and 5.5 rebounds, and junior guard Ray Gallegos adds 13.3 points.
“They’re playing smaller, they’re playing with a lot of skilled guys at all positions, and trying to spread the defense out, and look to attack you, and take the mismatches where they have them,” Painter said of the Cornhuskers. “But they continue to play hard. Obviously, when you’re struggling like they are and like we are, the No. 1 thing you have to be able to keep doing is keep competing and keep fighting, and obviously they did that the other night (at Michigan State).”
Around the rim: Purdue defeated Nebraska twice last season, the Cornhuskers’ first in the Big Ten, once at Mackey Arena and then in the first round of the conference tournament. … The Boilermakers haven’t played in Lincoln since a 58-47 win on Dec. 2, 1978. … The Cornhuskers’ conference games so far this season have been at Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State, and against Wisconsin.