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November 11, 2012

Lawson sparks Purdue in rout of Hofstra





Listen: Matt Painter | Sandi Marcius, Anthony Johnson and Jacob Lawson | Hofstra coach Mo Cassara

PDF: Purdue-Hofstra Box Score
Jacob Lawson's said that the greatest lesson he learned from his freshman season at Purdue was to always keep his motor running.

The impact of that lesson has been on display during the Boilermakers' first two games, especially during Sunday's 83-54 win over Hofstra Sunday afternoon in Mackey Arena.

This was a game against an under-sized, under-experienced and short-handed opponent and one Purdue would have won even without the distinct energy the sophomore forward brought to the floor in limited minutes.

But it that energy that factored heavily into the Boilermakers pulling away and cruising to victory.

It started with a put-back and was closely followed closely by a steal that triggered a 2-on-1. Lawson ran the floor and threw in a lay-up off a lob from point guard Ronnie Johnson. Finally, the 6-foot-8 forward darted in front of a Hofstra pass and took it end-to-end for a one-handed dunk that gave Purdue its first double-digit lead a little more than nine minutes into the game.

"I have to be an energy type of guy who'll hit people and run up and down the floor," said Lawson, who'd later dash down the floor to volleyball-spike a relatively easy transition opportunity for Hofstra. "That's what Coach wants to see out of me. I have to keep it going."

In the end, Lawson's numbers were modest: Eight points on 4-of-5 shooting, three offensive rebounds, a block and two steals in 15 minutes.

But in a no-contest sort of win in which no Boilermaker played more than 23 minutes or took more than eight shots, it was Lawson's play that can most closely be associated with the landslide that turned this game into garbage-time mode very quickly.

The other deciding factor was rebounding, a phase of the game Purdue has to excel in, but didn't in the opener against Bucknell, getting out-rebounded in the second half.

The Pride played no one taller than 6-8 and ran several freshmen out there while it waits for several high-major transfers to become eligible in coming weeks.

So against this particular matchup, Purdue should have dominated. And it did.

The Boilermakers outrebounded Hofstra 50-22, a margin tightened by a sloppy second half for Purdue. At the half, Purdue was up 24-7 on the glass.

"That was one of the two things we put emphasis on," center Sandi Marcius said, "the second being more patient on the offensive end, being patiently aggressive. Paying attention to (rebounding) and being patient, it paid off."

Marcius' offensive rebounding and scoring around the basket - his seven points matched Ronnie Johnson's in the first 20 minutes - helped Purdue lead 42-17 at halftime.

After halftime, Purdue lost its edge more than just a bit; committed 12 of its 20 turnovers, i.e. about two weeks worth of turnovers last season; and allowed 20 more points after halftime than it did before it.

But the Boilermakers were never threatened, with virtually everyone who dressed scoring. Only freshman walk-on Stephen Toyra, who played two minutes, didn't.

Anthony Johnson led Purdue with 14 points, while Marcius added 11, both of them on 5-of-8 shooting. Purdue shot nearly 52 percent collectively, exhibiting better shot selection than in the Bucknell game, though also not put in as many situations where it mattered all that much.

Ronnie Johnson scored nine points, with three steals and seven assists, but also four turnovers, one of three Boilermakers to give it away four times, joining Marcius and D.J. Byrd. Rapheal Davis scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds. Lawson and A.J. Hammons also scored eight each.

Coach Matt Painter had shaken up his starting lineup hoping his team would get off to a stronger start than it had against Bucknell.

Dru Anthrop and Davis started in place of Anthony Johnson and Byrd from Purdue's Game 1 lineup.

Banged-up junior Terone Johnson did play after missing the Bucknell game, but didn't start. He scored six points in 17 minutes.

"I'm just trying to get guys to understand about playing together and working hard and the guys who started, I thought they did a good job for us," Painter said. "We didn't get off to a good start the other night and didn't get off to a good start in the second half especially, when we were up six (vs. Bucknell). That was a big part of the game. I thought the guys who started tonight did a good job.

"You're always as a coach - and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't - trying to push buttons and get guys right, whether that's guys starting or coming off the bench. At times you don't know if it's going to work or not, but you know what you had before didn't work."

But it was Lawson, coming off the bench, who wound up giving Purdue the jolt it needed to leave Hofstra in its wake.




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