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December 8, 2012

Game 9: Eastern Michigan

Non-conference play is about experiencing different things, as Purdue coach Matt Painter well knows.

Saturday's 2 p.m. game at Eastern Michigan - a contest scheduled as part of a football contract between the two schools - will give the Boilermakers their second and final true road game of the non-conference season.

"You need to go on the road in my opinion to prepare yourself for the Big Ten," Painter said.

But also, the Eagles will present a challenge defensively with the zone looks Coach Rob Murphy brought with him from his days as Jim Boeheim's assistant at Syracuse.

Painter wants his team getting the ball inside, whether it be to A.J. Hammons in the post or with its guards working their way into the paint.

That might be especially true at Eastern Michigan.

"Obviously I've always tried to get guys to understand that the ball needs to go inside against a zone," Painter said. "You need to be able to get two people to guard one when they have the basketball to get that zone behind in its rotations. But also just don't settle for three-point shots. Let's get a quality three-point shot from a quality three-point shooter.

"You have to go more north and south than east and west. You have to take your dribble one way and take it back the other ways. There's a lot of things you're trying to do to get it to the sweet spots of the zone. When you do those things, you're going to get a higher-percentage shot. Then they're not going to be able to rebound as effectively out of it. There's a lot of things that go into it, especially just not settling for a quick perimeter jump shot."

Projected Lineups
(And we're guessing.)
G: Terone Johnson
G: Anthony Johnson
F: D.J. Byrd
F: Jacob Lawson
C: A.J. Hammons

Eastern Michigan
C: Da'Shonte Riley (7-0, 233, Jr.)
F: Glenn Bryant (6-7, 201, Jr.)
G: Jalen Ross (5-11, 176, Fr.)
G: Derek Thompson (6-3, 178, Sr.)
G: Daylen Harrison (6-6, 214, Jr.)

Derek Thompson leads Eastern Michigan at 13.6 points per game, with Daylen Harrison (12.4) and Glenn Bryant (11.6) not far off. � 7-footer Da'Shonte Riley averages just under seven rebounds per game. � Purdue beat EMU 61-36 last year in Mackey Arena. � Eastern Michigan went on to win the MAC's West Division; Murphy was named MAC Coach-of-the-Year. � the Eagles are 5-2, coming off an 84-48 loss at Syracuse. � This is part of a grueling four-game stretch for Murphy's team. It started with the trip to Syracuse. After Purdue, it will visit Illinois-Chicago, then Michigan.

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

About Eastern Michigan: Roster | Schedule | Statistics

Broadcast Info
Game time: 2 p.m.
Radio: Purdue Sports Network (95.7 FM locally)
Internet: GoldandBlack.com subscribers can follow along live with our in-game blog, "Game Day Live."

Five things to think about
1. Can Purdue get better point guard play?

No one questions that freshman Ronnie Johnson's future is bright. But he's had his ups and down, shooting 32 percent from the floor; going 2-for-23 from three-point range thus far; and boasting an assist-to-turnover ratio that's not that far above even.

Since handing out nine assists with no turnovers in the opener against Bucknell, Anthony Johnson has just five assists in the past seven games, with 10 turnovers.

Collectively, Purdue just barely has more assists (117) than turnovers (111) and handed out just seven assists in the loss to Xavier during the weekend.

2. Can Purdue find - and maintain - a middle ground between its great shooting from the first half at Clemson and its dreadful shooting from the Xavier game? Lamar was a step in the right direction, with an efficient, low-volume game in that sense. But it was Lamar.

3. Purdue's rebounding has been dominant lately and for the season, it's out-rebounding opponents by double-digits. The interesting part of that is that only part of it is the Boilermakers' added size; it's been more about collective effort and contributions from the guards. Can Purdue maintain that effort every game?

4. Terone Johnson is really playing well lately. That is all.

5. Will Jay Simpson be more of a factor in this game? It's looked like Purdue's emphasized getting him scoring chances in his limited minutes lately, and with Purdue wanting to get the ball inside against Eastern Michigan, maybe he gets more. The freshman's passing skills should be helpful too against a defense like this.

GoldandBlack.com Prediction: This probably isn't going to be the one-sided affair last season's meeting was, but the Boilermakers fared well in their one road game to date in a slightly more daunting environment. If Purdue takes care of the ball; doesn't shoot itself into disadvantages; and keeps up its tenacious rebounding, it should be too much for the Eagles.

Purdue 67, Eastern Michigan 60

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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