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November 3, 2012

Davis, rebounding spark Purdue

Listen: Players Terone Johnson, Rapheal Davis and A.J. Hammons | Coach Matt Painter

Purdue-Newberry Box Score

Rapheal Davis can score, always has been.

And the freshman guard showed it after halftime, serving as the catalyst for Purdue as it shook Newberry and rolled to a 109-68 win in its exhibition finale.

In the first half, the Boilermakers built only a modest 11-point lead by the break. They'd turned the ball over too much and didn't exactly maximize their overwhelming size advantage, outrebounding their visitors - none of whom stood taller than 6-foot-7 or were listed at more than 205 pounds - on the boards, holding a rebounding advantage of just one through 20 minutes.

Everything changed in the second half, and it started with Davis, who blew the game open with an eruption of open-floor points that broke the game open. Davis scored 13 points in the span of eight minutes, helping Purdue go up from 11 at half to nearly 30 at the 10-minute mark. Almost all his points came in transition, as Purdue dominated the tempo of the game early in the second half as it pulled away.

"The second half, I knew they were going to come out hard and pressure a lot to try to open the game back up and stay around," said Davis, who scored all 16 of his points in the second half. "Coach told us the first couple minutes would be the most important of the game. I just came out and tried to play aggressive and once I get in the open floor, that's really my game, making and-ones and layups."

Davis provided the spark that propelled Purdue toward outscoring Newberry by 30 after halftime, but rebounding might have been the difference.

After outrebounding Newberry by just one, Purdue crushed it on the boards in the final 20 minutes, 52-34.

"That was just physicality," said freshman center A.J. Hammons, who finished with eight points, six boards and two blocks in 14 minutes. "We had to be more physical."

Hammons is the face of a Purdue roster that's now bigger than it ever has been under Coach Matt Painter's direction.

But size is only part of the equation, as Painter undoubtedly mentioned at halftime.

When Purdue was beaten for an offensive rebound early in the second half, Painter substituted for all five players on the floor, NHL style.

"A lot of people talk about wanting to play big with a lineup," Painter said. "But you have to be quick to the basketball and (Newberry) showed that in the first half.

"Rebounding isn't always about size and getting the ball off the rim every time. It's about chasing down long rebounds and being to the basketball. They were definitely better than us at that in the first half. In the second half, we just did a better job on the glass and I just thought we played harder and had a little more of a focus."

You have to figure those lessons are a work in progress for a young Purdue team, one of the things the Boilermakers are just going to have to play through for a while while its youth grows up.

Another is turnovers.

The Boilermakers turned the ball over 19 times against Newberry, an abomination by past Purdue standards. The Wolves' pressing, pressuring defense had something to do with it, but Purdue's inexperience did as well, Painter said.

"Our inexperience showed up a little bit there," said Painter, whose freshman point guard, Ronnie Johnson, gave it away five times. "… But there's no doubt their style takes you some time to get used to and we did a better job in the second half."

Purdue's steadiest hand was again junior Terone Johnson, who backed up his 24-point game against Montevallo with a highly efficient 18-point outing Saturday night. He made 8-of-10 shots and sank his only three-point attempt and only foul shot.

"(I'm) just comfortable," he said of his role in Purdue's offense. "I think I'm in the flow of the offense pretty good. We have a couple sets we run to get the ball inside and those guys are so big, they really clear out the lane for us to drive. It's easier to get in there. Also, I'm just more ready to make open shots, from the offseason working on my jump shot."

Ronnie Johnson offset his turnovers by scoring 16 points, with three steals, while senior D.J. Byrd added 11 and four assists for an offense that shot 55 percent.

Anthony Johnson capped a rock-solid exhibition season with eight assists to no turnovers and seven rebounds, to go along with his six points. He'll back up the point guard position this season to go along with his role playing away from the ball as a scorer.

Freshman big man Jay Simpson scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in 13 minutes. He will "definitely" not redshirt this season, per Painter.

[db]Dru Anthrop[/db] scored seven points.

Travis Carroll blocked four shots and collected five rebounds in only 12 minutes. Sandi Marcius and Jacob Lawson each grabbed six rebounds as no Purdue played more than 21 minutes.

The Boilermakers blocked eight shots for the second time in as many exhibitions. Last season, they averaged three per game.

Purdue opens its season Friday night against Bucknell.

The Newberry game, Terone Johnson said, marked a step in the right direction from the first preseason game to the second.

"I just thought we did a better job embracing the physicality of the game," he said. "Last game, we kind of let guys push us around a little bit. This game, we did a lot better with that rebounding and on the offensive end."

Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2012. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing or using editorial or graphical content, in whole or in part, without permission, is strictly prohibited. E-mail GoldandBlack.com/Boilers, Inc.

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