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December 1, 2012

Johnson shines in loss; Xavier notes

Terone Johnson, clearly, was not happy.

He answered all of the questions posed to him after Purdue's 63-57 loss to Xavier on Saturday, but he was quiet and hardly made eye contact.

There was no celebrating one of the best games of his college career.

Johnson had his first double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Boilermakers in both categories.

And he did his best to will the team to a victory in the second half.

About three minutes into the half, he got aggressive off ball screens. Xavier was hedging, but Johnson just turned up to another gear, beating that second defender to the rim for two consecutive baskets and then splitting the screen for another hoop to give Purdue a 42-40 lead about seven minutes in.

"We took advantage of it by just getting past that (hedge) guy and getting inside," Johnson said. "Shots weren't falling from outside, so I figured somehow get in the paint to get some buckets and rebound. "

During one stretch in the second half, Johnson had 13 of Purdue's 17 points. He made five of the nine shots he took in the second half - he was 7 of 15 for the game.

But he was just as impressive with his intent to rebound.

He got some long boards after missed shots, but he also wasn't afraid to mix it up inside and leap to snatch boards with bigger players surrounding him.

His 10 rebounds were two better than his previous career high.

Fighting, pounding
Matt Painter hoped with a bigger lineup this season, his team's rebounding numbers would increase.

So far, that's been the case.

Purdue outrebounded Xavier 44-29, giving it the advantage on the boards in five of its seven games this season.

The Boilermakers turned 17 offensive rebounds Saturday into 12 second-chance points, and Purdue has had at least that many offensive rebounds in four games this season.

"We knew going into the game Purdue was an incredibly tough, physical team, especially on the glass," Xavier coach Chris Mack said.

A.J. Hammons had seven of his nine rebounds in the second half, including three on the offensive end, and four of Donnie Hale's five rebounds were offensive.

"We've had some good energy," Painter said of his team's increased rebounding. "We didn't allow Clemson to have an offensive rebound in the first half, and they only had three offensive rebounds (Saturday), so we're doing a better job of keeping people off the glass. We had 17 offensive rebounds, so we're getting some more cracks at it, more possessions. (We've) just got to keep plugging. We're more of a defensive-rebounding type team than we have been in the past, but we're not as good in terms of making decisions and obviously shooting the basketball. We've got to find a balance and play better."

Byrd grounded
Mack said some credit goes to Justin Martin for keeping D.J. Byrd without a point - and missing all nine of his three-pointers - by constantly staying active and chasing Byrd off the three-point line and make him put it on the floor.

But Mack was shocked Byrd was able to be held in check that well.

"D.J. is not going to have many nights like that, I don't care who is guarding him," Mack said. "D.J. is not going to shoot the ball like that. We caught him on a tough day for him."

Finding minutes
Painter opted to play Ronnie Johnson and Hammons a bunch, getting them 31 and 29 minutes, but the team's other two true freshmen spent much of the game on the bench.

Jay Simpson played five minutes, and Rapheal Davis played only three, all in the first half.

"For a couple of them that don't play much, I'd like to play them more," Painter said. "It's hard when you get against a good team like Xavier and they run a lot of different stuff, being able to understand what they're doing every time and stick with what we're trying to do, it gets to be a little bit too much. I'd like to play them more because there's no way somebody stays confidence when they don't play a whole lot. That's tough because we have some quality players, young guys I really like, that didn't get in.

"Just showing them film and continue to talk to them, continue to make teaching moments. They always say you need one loss to teach a lesson, you don't need two. We keep losing. We'd like to get some things corrected. But you've got to stay with it. I like our talent. I just don't like our discipline. But I do like our young guys.

"I have to do a better job as a coach defining their roles. I've always allowed guys to continue to play through things when I know they have the ability to do stuff. But after awhile, you've got to lock them down a little bit and not let them do certain things until they start to get a little bit more confidence and a little bit more success and play better. At times, that hurts them. At times like this, it helps them."

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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