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December 4, 2012

Game 8: Lamar





Purdue plays 1-6 Lamar at 6:30 p.m. tonight in Mackey Arena.

But at this stage of the season, the Boilermakers (3-4) are still more worried about the Boilermakers than they are their opponents, particularly in games like this.

"For us, I really feel that with the timing of this game, it's just more about us," Coach Matt Painter said. "We have to do a better job of not beating ourselves. I think that's what we've done. I don't want to take anything away from any of the teams that have beat us, because they've earned it, but the position I'm in as the coach at Purdue, I just feel like Purdue's beating Purdue. We have to do a better job giving ourselves a chance and just playing to our strengths. We have an identity crisis as a team. There's too many individuals who don't play to their strengths and that's my job as a coach. I have to get that straightened out, because I really believe we have enough talent to win game, especially close games."

Coach Pat Knight's Cardinals have been the wrong end of a series of blowout losses thus far this season, most recently a 75-47 loss at Alabama. Lamar has played just one home game. Its lone win came over IUPUI on a neutral floor.

But non-conference results won't matter all that much for Lamar in the big picture.

"He's got it figured out," Painter said of Pat Knight, his long-time friend and son of the former Indiana coach Bob Knight. "At that level, what they have to do is win their conference tournament. The guys at that level who really understand that an at-large (NCAA Tournament) bid is out of the question - you load up your schedule and you quickly find what your issues are against high-major people and what your issues are against people you're going to play against. Sometimes it's one and the same and sometimes it's different, but what you do is you try to make the corrections and get ready for conference play, really gearing toward the conference tournament. They have a tough schedule and they play a lot of tough people."

Purdue qualifies as such, though the Boilermakers have battled tremendous inconsistency through their first seven games.

Painter's harped on decision-making above all else, as his team's turned the ball over too much and been prone to taking ill-advised shots.

Painter said, though, his team is listening.

"I think at times they are. But I also think that if you watch tape, you will have guys individually who will say, 'I am actually trying to do what you're saying, and I see that I'm not, but from a mental standpoint, I am trying,'" Painter said. "It's always good, because there's a saying in basketball that, 'The eye in the sky never lies.' It's good to see yourself and hopefully make some corrections through that. I think there's a little bit of a fight from young guys, and you'll get that. It's very natural, because you've been successful doing it your way, but this is just another level, a little bigger, a little faster, a little stronger, and the coaching's different from game to game. You have to be able to make an adjustment, because what made sense on Wednesday might not make sense on Saturday. That's hard for them, because you are trying to build a habit and be fundamentally sound."

Projected Lineups
Purdue
G: Terone Johnson
G: Anthony Johnson
F: D.J. Byrd
F: Jacob Lawson
C: A.J. Hammons

Lamar
F: Nikko Acosta (6-9, 220, Sr.)
F: Rhon Mitchell (6-5, 180, R-Fr.)
F: Stan Brown (6-8, 225, Sr.)
G: Keilan Blanks (5-9, 160, Fr.)
G: Donley Minor (6-1, 175, Sr.)

Pat Knight formerly coached at Texas Tech. ... Forward Rhon Mitchell averages a team-high 10.9 points. ... Forward Stan Brown went to Whitney Young High School in Chicago, marking at least the third time already this season Purdue guard Anthony Johnson will have been on the floor opposite a fellow Young graduate. ... Former Indiana player Sherron Wilkerson is an assistant coach on Knight's staff. ... Lamar averages more than 19 turnovers per game. ... Guard Donley Minor scored 22 points against IUPUI in Lamar's win. Former Purdue guard John Hart had 20 for the Jaguars.

About Purdue: Roster | Schedule | Statistics (2011-12)

About Lamar: Roster | Schedule | Statistics

Broadcast Info
Game time: 6:30 p.m.
Radio: Purdue Sports Network (95.7 FM locally)
TV: Big Ten Network
Internet: GoldandBlack.com subscribers can follow along live with our in-game blog, "Game Day Live."

Five things to think about
1. Can Purdue find - and maintain - a balance between its torrid shooting from the Clemson game and its icy shooting from the Xavier game? This doesn't project to be an elite three-point shooting team, but it shouldn't be a terrible one either.

2. Do games against overmatched opponents put the Boilermakers in position to really gauge where they are in terms of correcting their deficiencies?

3. Purdue's put together a nice run of outstanding rebounding. Against a small-school opponent, it might test its attention span to keep it going.

4. Purdue has to move the ball better on offense. It had only seven assists against Xavier and its assist-to-turnover ratio for the season is just barely above even.

5. Donnie Hale seemed far more aggressive against Xavier than he had been in prior games. Is he trending upward now, coming off the bench?

GoldandBlack.com Prediction: Purdue should roll in this one.

Purdue 72, Lamar 55




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