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November 21, 2012
Listen: Coach Matt Painter | Terone Johnson, Travis Carroll and Jacob Lawson | UNCWilmington coach Buzz Peterson
PDF: Purdue-UNC Wilmington Box Score
It took a buzzer-beating Terone Johnson three-pointer for Purdue to simply lead over-matched North Carolina-Wilmington at halftime Wednesday night in Mackey Arena.
There was no need for such drama in the second half, however, as a Boilermaker team badly needing a win got one win in emphatic fashion, rolling to a 66-40 victory.
This was not a win that'll be prominently featured on any NCAA Tournament résumés - Wilmington lost its prior two games by an average of 40 points - but it's one Purdue certainly won't stick its nose up at, not after opening the season 1-3.
The urgency you'd think would come from such a situation was evident after halftime, when Purdue led just 29-28, needing Johnson's last-second shot to avoid trailing.
The Boilermakers held the Seahawks to just two points and no field goals in the second half's first 10-and-a-half minutes and used a run of 15 consecutive points, capped by another Terone Johnson three-pointer, to lead 47-31 just inside the 10-minute mark.
This time, Purdue wouldn't let up like it did in the first half, when it let slip an 11-point lead, built it back up to eight, then blew that, too.
The two halves couldn't have been much more different.
In the first half, Wilmington shot 44 percent; in the second, it shot 19. In the first half, Purdue shot 38 percent; in the second, it shot 48. In the first half, the Boilermakers allowed 28 points; in the second, they gave up just a dozen.
Terone Johnson, who scored a game-high 19 points, making 3-of-3 from three-point range and all four of his foul shots, said the difference between the two halves was simple.
"We were just doing things we were supposed to do," the junior said. "We talked about it early on, just doing what we're supposed to do and I don't think we actually did that.
"In the second half, we came out and got some defensive stops, some good post defense inside and also our guards played good defense and that led to some points on offense."
Coach Matt Painter's spent the early weeks of this season lamenting some issues his team is working through offensively, but was pleased to see its defense carry it through in the second half against Wilmington.
"Our guys did a better job keeping the ball out of the post and our guards did a better job," said Painter, after Seahawk leading scorer Keith Rendleman got just four of his 14 points after halftime. "And I played more of a defensive lineup."
In addition to Terone Johnson's best game of the season, Purdue got 10 points apiece from D.J. Byrd and center Travis Carroll, who was 4-for-4 shooting with four rebounds and a block in 13 minutes. He came off the bench in reserve of freshman A.J. Hammons, who earned his first college start.
"Those couple-minutes spurts, I want to give it everything I have," Carroll said, "so we have some energy coming off the bench and there's no down points in the game."
That exact same sentiment has been the story of forward Jacob Lawson's season thus far and that didn't change Wednesday, when his impact on the game belied his zero in the scoring column. The sophomore did grab four rebounds and three steals and block three shots in 17 minutes, such production being part of the reason he too moved into the starting five.
Coming off his outstanding game against Oregon State in New York City, Hammons struggled to get established offensively in the first half against Wilmington, then got it figured out in the second. Purdue salted the game away by hammering the ball inside to the 7-footer. All nine of his points came in the game's final six minutes.
It wasn't a pretty win, but it was very much a needed win as now gets a week to prepare for next week's Big Ten/ACC road trip to Clemson.
"It was very important," Terone Johnson said. "We had a couple guys in New York who had a bad trip. Those guys came back and played way better than they did there. It's very important to gain that confidence.
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