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February 2, 2013

Things go from bad to worse at Northwestern







Listen: Coach Matt Painter | D.J. Byrd | Anthony Johnson

PDF: Purdue-Northwestern Box Score

If Purdue's resolve was being put to the test Saturday at Northwestern following its 97-60 loss to Indiana in Mackey Arena Wednesday night, the exam was decisively failed.

The Wildcats scored the game's first 12 points en route to a 75-60 win, pushing things from bad to worse for a Boilermaker team that's now taken back-to-back blowout losses after winning four of five prior.

"You'd think after getting beat by 37 points on your home court to your rival school, you'd have more fight to start the game," Coach Matt Painter said. "But it really says a lot to where we are with our immaturity.

"There's no question it falls on me. We've had the issue the whole year, though, and not just the past week. We didn't just come down with the flu in the past week. We have to do a better job of building a habit. That's what you try to do as a coach, you build habits on and off the court, so that you have discipline. It's just something we have to stay with. You don't just give in to it. The thing is we don't have a lot of depth, so the guys who keep making the mistakes keep playing. We have a lot of guys playing who need to sit and watch and learn some hard lessons."

Northwestern shot 53 percent for the game and made seven of its first eight three-pointers in building a lead that hit 15 before the first half was even half over.

By the time halftime arrived and the hosts held a 43-29 lead, there was little question Purdue's woes would continue.

"It's difficult when you fall behind early like that, but we still have to find that fight to come back," senior D.J. Byrd said. "You have so much time through the course of a game, you have to be able to execute, bear down and do the things we do rather than the things they do. We have to be tougher and more physical and play harder."

One of the few glimmers of hope for Purdue came in the second half when Byrd hit a three and kicked off a sequence in which the Boilermakers scored seven points on a single trip down the floor. That burst got Purdue within a dozen with plenty of time left to actually make Northwestern sweat.

But the Wildcats answered with a Jared Swopshire three-pointer that summarily dashed such hopes.

Whether it was threes or their typical cutting work, Northwestern did what it wanted offensively.

"I've always said this about Northwestern: If you can't defend them, it's like you have a flashing light on top of your head while you're out there playing and they just pick on you," Painter said. "At times, we'd hide one guy who had that flashing light in the past. But when you have four or five guys out there with flashing lights, it's a difficult thing."

After sitting out the game's first few minutes after being late for the team bus, A.J. Hammons led Purdue with 19 points and 13 rebounds, leading the Boilermakers to a 46-30 win on the boards, an advantage that went wasted.

Byrd scored 12 points with five assists; Anthony Johnson added 11 points.

Leading scorer Terone Johnson, who's been ill this week, endured his second consecutive forgettable outing, scoring five points on 2-of-11 shooting. Ronnie Johnson was 3-of-11, scoring eight points.

Purdue shot just 33 percent.

Fort Wayne native Reggie Hearn led Northwestern with 26 points.

"He got his head up and got in a rhythm and when you get in a rhythm - I've been there before - you feel like everything's going in," Byrd said.

It was part of the frustration for Purdue on Saturday afternoon in Evanston.

There was quite a bit of it, as the Boilermakers left Chicagoland probably with much the same feeling they did Wednesday night when they left Mackey Arena having been on the wrong end of a loss of historic proportion.

"How you respond is how you play when the popcorn's turning," Painter said. "Coaches will come back and say, 'We had two great practices, then we didn't play well.' Who really cares?

"It's your production right here on 11 a.m. Saturday that's the only thing that counts, the other thing they judge you by. You don't have your stats at the end of the year and say, 'Well, they had four good practices.'




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Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2013. 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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