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March 20, 2013

Anthrop delivers career night

Dru Anthrop showcased about all of his abilities but the shooting touch on Wednesday night.

He offered up his athleticism, using his bounce to get up to snatch some rebounds, tip in a miss and go high-reaching for a steal.

He turned on his jets to chase loose rebounds down in the deep corners.

He displayed his savvy and deft passing skills, delivering pinpoint entry passes into the post and quick ball movement on the perimeter that produced three-pointers.

And it all led to a career night.

In what he called a "bonus" home game in his final season, Anthrop had four-year bests in points (four), rebounds (six), assists (four) and minutes (24).

"Dru was great," Purdue coach Matt Painter said after the Boilermakers' 81-67 victory over Western Illinois in the first round of the CBI.

"Did a lot of little things for us, distributing the basketball, got loose balls, got long rebounds, made some extra passes, just did the little things to help us win. It was good to see."

It was enough for a hearty serenade of "Druuuuu" from the 3,000 or so fans in Mackey when he left the game with 5:51 to play.

Anthrop quickly became a fan favorite not only because he is a local guy - Central Catholic grad - but because he exemplifies the "Purdue basketball" way of hustle, grit and toughness.

He just didn't think he'd be able to show fans inside of Mackey those qualities again.

Like classmate D.J. Byrd, Anthrop was happy to end on a high note with a victory over Minnesota on senior night. But then came the CBI and another, unexpected, opportunity to play at home.

And Anthrop seized it from the moment he entered the game in the first half.

Less than one minute after he subbed in, Anthrop got free inside for an easy bucket. On Purdue's next possession, he quickly chased down a miss for an offensive rebound - one of four on the night. Then after WIU missed, it was Anthrop who grabbed the board.

And then this: Sandi Marcius missed inside but the 6-foot Anthrop soared to get the tip-in.

And offense wasn't even on Anthrop's mind when he first entered the game.

"They came out firing, they were hot," he said of WIU. "So when I got in, I just wanted to do anything I could to get some stops because that's what we needed. That translated into getting us some good shots on the offensive end."

One of his three steals came with about 90 seconds left in the half when he out-jumped a Western player on an inbounds pass to snatch the ball. He got bumped soon after the catch but managed to shovel the ball off to a slicing Ronnie Johnson before he hit the ground. Johnson scored in transition.

In the game's final minutes - even with the game in hand and a double-digit lead - he skied for a rebound off a missed free throw. He hadn't led a team in rebounding since high school, he said.

"I've got some bunnies every once and awhile," Anthrop said with a smile, stopping short of giving himself credit for hops. "I was just crashing, the ball seemed to bounce my way. That was really it. It could be any one of us on any given night. (Wednesday), it happened to me."

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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