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February 24, 2013

Time off paid off in win over Northwestern

Listen: Coach Matt Painter | D.J. Byrd, Rapheal Davis and Terone Johnson | Northwestern coach Bill Carmody

PDF: PurdueNorthwestern box score

Last time Purdue and Northwestern met, Northwestern embarrassed the Boilermakers, controlling play from start to finish in a 75-60 win.

Sunday, Purdue returned the favor in a big way, rolling over the injury-plagued and struggling Wildcats 74-43, taking full advantage of the week-long layoff they had following last weekend's loss at Indiana.

"It's always tough to wait that long, especially coming off a loss, especially after the way we lost at IU," said Terone Johnson, who scored a game-high 22 points. "You just want to get out there the next day and get that loss off your mind. But I thought it was a definite advantage, especially going against (Northwestern's) system and how they do things."

As Northwestern did when it jumped Purdue with a 12-0 burst to start the first game between these two teams, the Boilermakers left no doubt from the get-go Sunday in a sparsely filled Mackey Arena.

Just inside the 15-minute mark of the first half, the first of Terone Johnson's career-high four three-pointers made it 14-3 Purdue. The margin first hit 20 after D.J. Byrd made three foul shots, then scored on a putback, to make it 27-7 at just 9:47. Sandi Marcius' basket off a pass from Ronnie Johnson made it 29-7 Purdue to open the game.

Purdue was far from perfect in this game, despite the margin.

It turned the ball over 15 times and missed 10 of its 23 free-throw attempts.

But it was so effective early both offensively and defensively that none of it ever mattered.

The time between games helped Purdue get off to a fast start offensively, said Byrd, who scored 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting and handed out five assists.

Unlike any other game lately, Purdue moved the ball smoothly on offense, appearing to play with more chemistry and cohesion than in any other Big Ten game this season.

"We had seven or eight days of practice and we mainly worked on those things offensively," Byrd said. "Sometimes we'd get stagnant when Big (A.J. Hammons) will be down in the post. We did a good job passing the ball and driving when the time was right. Most of the time, you're going to get high-percentage shots when you do that."

Northwestern could never really get much done on offense, missing all the shots they made in Round 1 between these teams. The Wildcats, who have been struggling terribly to score lately, except in that first game against Purdue, shot less than 29 percent Sunday night.

But a modest 11-4 run to end the first half at least kept it in the ballpark.

It was quickly knocked out of that park in the second half, as Purdue scored nine of the half's first 11 points and led by as many as 35.

"We weren't able to contain them," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. "Terone Johnson and his brother (Ronnie Johnson) got in the lane at will. And they made shots."

Purdue did make shots, uncharacteristically. It was 7-of-15 from three-point territory; it was 5-of-6 in the first half.

Terone Johnson was 4-for-5.

"We took more shots in rhythm," Coach Matt Painter said, "and that pays off."

After wasting a 16-rebound advantage in Evanston, Purdue did no such thing this time.

Purdue out-rebounded Northwestern 48-23, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds and out-scoring the Wildcats 11-0 in the second-chance points column.

"Today we played a lot stronger, a lot harder," Painter said.

And it looked like the time off paid off.

"We had a lot of good practices in a row," Terone Johnson said. "When we got back from IU, we didn't take a day off. We had really good, hard practices and carried that over."

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