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January 13, 2013
After moving to a smaller lineup late against Ohio State, Matt Painter started with it against Penn State on Sunday.
Rapheal Davis got his first start since the second game of the season in Purdue's 60-42 victory over the Nittany Lions.
He had 10 points, five rebounds, a steal and an assist in 22 minutes. Those minutes tied a season-high and were the most he has played in a game during the Big Ten season.
Painter typically doesn't make a big deal about who starts - he's had seven different starting lineups this season - and he said on Sunday he was just playing the guys he thought gave the Boilermakers a best chance to win.
Davis was one of those players, he said.
"I thought he played harder than the other guys," said Painter, who replaced Jacob Lawson in the lineup with Davis. "I think that was an easy statement. I don't think he's a traditional 4 man nor do I think (D.J.) Byrd is a traditional 4 man, but 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, I think they need to be rewarded."
It was the first time this season that Painter started three freshmen, and the 6-foot-5, 211-pound Davis did some good things against Penn State.
In the first three minutes, he stuck a three-pointer from the wing and then came down the next possession and found a cutting Terone Johnson for a layup.
After heading to the bench after about four minutes in, he re-entered the game near the eight-minute mark and quickly got to the free throw line, grabbed a defensive rebound, scored off an A.J. Hammons pass, grabbed an offensive board to get back to the line and had a defensive rebound in a two-minute span.
"Rapheal Davis just continued to keep a good attitude and play hard and he gives us energy," Painter said. "It's been a difficult transition sometimes because he's kind of an in-between player."
Hammons wasn't in foul trouble, but Penn State was playing two combo forwards at the power forward and center spots and Painter though that was a tough matchup for Hammons. So he inserted the more athletic Lawson.
"They were just trying to get an advantage of him in the ball screen action, so we wanted to put Jacob in there and switch it and knock out the action," Painter said. "They can drive you after that, which they did. They still drove Jacob Lawson and scored twice. When you put a guy in there to be able to stop that, it really didn't work. But that is the thinking."
Still, in the back-and-forth subbing, Hammons was able to get enough minutes to reach 10 rebounds. That was the first double-digit total of his career and allowed him to secure his first double-double.
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