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November 20, 2013
Breakdown: Eastern Illinois
Purdue looks to run its early season record to 4-0 at 7 p.m. tonight in Mackey Arena when it hosts Eastern Illinois.
About Purdue:: Roster | Schedule/Results | Stats
Projected starters (best guess): C - A.J. Hammons; F - Errick Peck; G - Ronnie Johnson; G - Terone Johnson; G - Kendall Stephens
About Eastern Illinois:: Roster | Schedule/Results | Stats
Broadcast info:: Radio: Purdue Sports Network | TV: Big Ten Network Digital | LIVE: Join GoldandBlack.com tonight for our 30-minute pre-game 'Game Day Live' chat session, then our Twitter account, @GoldandBlackcom, for in-game updates.
Purdue's ties to the Eastern Illinois program run deep.
Coach Matt Painter was an assistant coach for the Panthers from 1996-98 under then-coach Rick Samuels.
"It was my first Division I job in terms of coaching," Painter said. "I got the job when I was turning 25. I was very fortunate that they'd made some cuts in their salary, so we were able to get a full-time position, but more at entry-level pay. It really helped some young guys with that kind of opportunity. It was a timing thing. They waited throughout the whole summer to hire somebody in the fall.
"It was a great experience for me and Coach Samuels was great to me. He gave me a lot of responsibility at an early age. I learned a lot, especially about breaking down film and recruiting for the first time at the Division I level, and I was able to get my master's there. I had a great time and learned a lot."
One of Painter's first D-I recruits was Jack Owens.
Now the Boilermakers' associate head coach, Owens played point guard for EIU from '97-99 and served as an assistant coach from 2002-03 before joining Painter at Southern Illinois and ultimately following him to Purdue.
Current Eastern Illinois assistant coach J.R. Reynolds, also a former Panther guard, was on staff at Purdue in a graduate assistant role from 2009-2012 and is well-liked around the Boilermaker program.
"He has a great rapport with people, great people skills," Painter said. "He understands the game and been around the game at all different levels. When guys show their intestinal fortitude and pay their dues, it really shows they want a place, and I think he'll do a great job there."
Eastern is led by high-scoring guard Reggie Smith, who's averaging 21 points through three games.
Painter said he expects the Panthers to pressure Purdue on defense, picking up the ball full-court, running zone and trapping in the backcourt, as well as playing man-to-man, "probably 70 percent of the time."
"They're going to give you some different looks," Painter said. "We have to prepared for everything and that's what's great about these games."
Of note: EIU lost at Northwestern to open the season, 72-55 in Evanston. It's coming off an 86-66 win against Kelsey Barlow and Illinois-Chicago in Chicago.
Prediction: Things haven't been easy for Purdue thus far this season, but it's finding ways to win in tight situations. Don't be surprised if there are tight situations again against the Panthers and don't be surprised when the Boilermakers persevere again. Purdue 81, Eastern Illinois 70
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