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February 5, 2013

Hale pounds the boards; Penn State notes

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Every time Donnie Hale went to the sidelines during a timeout, Matt Painter was chirping in his ear.

"You've got to rebound the ball," Painter would say.

So what if Hale was making some baskets - ultimately finishing on 5-of-8 for 10 points - Painter always needs more.

Hale obliged, collecting 10 rebounds to for his first double-double at Purdue in a 58-49 victory.

"That was cool to hear I had the 10 rebounds, that was awesome," Hale said. "I just kept (what Painter said) in mind and tried to go after it every time."

Hale's rebounding was a nice compliment to big man A.J. Hammons, the team's leading rebounder who snatched a team-high 12 against the Nittany Lions.

"I didn't start off as good as I wanted to," said Hammons, who had five rebounds at halftime. "I don't understand what I was doing, but I just had to turn it up a little more. They pushed me off the block, I wasn't getting any rebounds, coach (was) yelling at me. So I had to come in there, Donnie gave us energy, so I just fed off Donnie's energy."

Hammons was too much for Penn State to handle on the block, whether grabbing boards or scoring. He officially attempted only five shots, but the Nittany Lions often were caught grabbing and holding Hammons in the post. So he went to the foul line 12 times. Hammons made 11 of them.

"(If) they're going to foul, I'm going to make the free throws," Hammons said, simply.

More work
Hammons' free throw shooting didn't rub off on his teammates.

Besides Hammons, Purdue made only 7 of 17 shots from the line.

Ronnie Johnson had a chance to extend the lead in the finals minutes but made only two of his eight free throws in the final 4:53.

"I get in practice and shoot them all the time and make them, but get in the game and it doesn't show," Johnson said. "But it'll get better."

Getting minutes
As Painter is wont to do, he went deep into his bench to try to find a player to bring some energy.

With Dru Anthrop out with a broken bone in his left hand, Painter went way deep: Walk-on Stephen Toyra.

Toyra had played 10 minutes total in six games this season but got seven minutes in the first half. He had two rebounds and took a charge.

When Painter was asked about his team's effort against Penn State, he said it was better. Soon after, he mentioned Toyra.

"At times, we just need to be simple and we get ahead of ourselves a little bit and we force and we try to take on the world," Painter said. "When we draw two or three people sometimes on drives, we have to be able to play under control and make the next play, the next pass. We still struggle sometimes doing that. Steven Toyra is a walk-on for us, and that's why we put him in the game, just to move the basketball. He didn't get an opportunity to shoot, but he's a good shooter, to spread the defense out. I thought he did a good job of just carrying out his assignment defensively, and that's all you need sometimes out there is just some facilitators, guys passing the basketball. It makes for a good offense."

Missing the mark
For the second time this season, Purdue didn't make a three-pointer.

The Boilermakers missed all 10 of their looks from long range against the Nittany Lions. Earlier this season, Purdue was 0 for 17 on three-pointers in a loss to Xavier.

It was the first time the Boilermakers failed to make a three pointer in a winning effort since Jan. 17, 1990 when Purdue missed all four of its attempts in a 56-54 win at Wisconsin.

But this time, Purdue didn't need the three-pointers to win. Not with the way Hammons and Co. were getting points in the paint. Purdue led that category 36-20.

"If we can get two feet in the paint, even if we don't shoot it in the paint, it helps our possession. We've struggled all year when we haven't gotten the ball in the paint," Painter said. "Any time we can do that and be consistent getting in there, it really helps our field goal percentage and our points in general. But we're trying to do that every game, but here for us, both teams struggled from the perimeter. So if you can swallow your pride a bit and pass up some shots and just probe the defense and get it closer to the rim, it's going to give us a better chance. It's hard for guys to do that, though."

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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