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November 12, 2013

Breakdown: Purdue-Central Connecticut

Coming off a narrow season-opening win over Northern Kentucky, Purdue takes the court again at 7 p.m. tonight against Central Connecticut State.

About Purdue:: Roster | Schedule/Results | Stats
Projected starters (best guess): C - Jay Simpson; F - Errick Peck; G - Ronnie Johnson; G - Terone Johnson; G - Kendall Stephens

About Central Connecticut:: | Schedule/Results | Stats

Broadcast info:: Radio: Purdue Sports Network | TV: Big Ten Network Digital | LIVE: Join GoldandBlack.com tonight for our 30-minute pre-game 'Game Day Live' chat session, then our Twitter account, @GoldandBlackcom, for in-game updates.

Game Breakdown
Purdue will very different from Game 1 due to the return of center A.J. Hammons following his three-game (including two exhibitions) suspension.

How Hammons changes things remains to be seen immediately, but you have to figure the Big Ten's top returning shot-blocker might cover up at least of the defensive breakdowns Purdue's shown at the very, very early stages of this young season and help the Boilermakers rebound, though that might be more of a collective issue.

Coach Matt Painter has not been particularly pleased with how his team has bodied up their men all over the floor as rebounders, part of the reason the Norse grabbed 17 offensive rebounds in the opener.

After struggling to stop Northern Kentucky guard Jordan Jackson and after being on the wrong end of a hot shooting night against the Norse, Purdue must concern itself with a CCS offense that can score.

Guard Kyle Vinales was the nation's seventh-leading scorer last season, averaging 21.6 points. Vinales shot 37 percent from three-point range and 80 from the line last season.

In his team's 93-77 loss to Yale in its opener, the 6-foot-1 guard put up 30, but just six in a second half that saw the Blue Devils let a significant lead slip away.

Against Yale, Central Connecticut led 63-46 with 14 minutes left, but allowing 47 points from there on out.

In addition to Vinales, senior guard Matt Hunter can really score.

Ask Indiana.

He dropped 40 against the top-ranked Hoosiers in Bloomington last December, 24 in the second half.

Hunter averaged 15.7 points as a junior.

Central Connecticut State will play small, with very little size in its lineups.

Purdue had a bit of a hard time against Northern Kentucky against smaller, more perimeter-oriented groupings and Hammons' return may help around the rim but may not help much on the perimeter, keeping the ball contained.

Of note: Yale outrebounded CCSU 44-33, with Julian Sears, a 6-8 sophomore forward, lighting the Blue Devils up to the tune of 26 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Prediction: Purdue's opened on shaky ground defensively and must limit the number of offensive rebounds it allows the opponent, but after Friday night's scare against Northern Kentucky, we'd expect a more-refined showing. Having Hammons back won't hurt either, though there could be some uneven-ness early as he works his way back into the rotation. Purdue 75, Central Connecticut 63

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