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November 13, 2013

Hammons' return fuels Boilermaker romp

Purdue-Central Connecticut State box score

So it would appear that A.J. Hammons is kind of a big deal.

The Boilermaker center returned from his three-game suspension Wednesday night and made his impact immediately and strongly felt, helping Purdue to a 109-73 win over Central Connecticut State, a game in which the Boilermakers established a Matt Painter Era-high for single-game scoring.

Hammons was one of five double-digit scorers for a Purdue team that did whatever it wanted on offense much of the game, but it was on defense where the 7-footer was welcomed back most enthusiastically, as the sophomore blocked a career-high seven shots in his season debut.

"With the blocked shots, I think they kind of fed off me with the blocked shots," Hammons said. "I was just trying to get my team hyped and ready since I owe it to them after everything that happened."

The center was just part of a defensive effort that also saw Terone Johnson and those around him shut down Blue Devil scoring demon Kyle Vinales, who was just 1-of-6 in the first half, putting up just a cherry-picked layup, before adding 18 points in the second half after the Boilermakers had blown the game open.

"Any time you face a great player that's been the scorer that he's been, it's team defense and not letting him get any easy ones," Painter said of the job Purdue did on the player who ranked seventh nationally last season in scoring. "I thought he made a couple of tough shots, but today wasn't his day. If you watch him on film and you watch him from last year, he can really get it going. Today wasn't Central Connecticut State's day either. They're better than what they played today."

Purdue ran away and hid thanks to an 18-0 run capped by a tip-in and a jumper by Hammons, followed by a tip-in and a three by Errick Peck.

After trailing 17-12 at the 14:08 mark of the first half, Purdue outscored Central Connecticut 42-15 the remainder of the half en route to a 36-point win.

"I think we just decided we were going to lock down," Peck said of Purdue's decisive run, "and we were going to play harder than what we had before. We got a couple rebounds, got the ball moving a little bit, got some assists and that's where we really shined, transition stuff. That helped on the run a lot, and just rebounding the basketball was really key."

The Boilermakers extended their lead in part by outrebounding Central Connecticut by 11 after halftime after being outrebounded by one in the first half.

"Coach challenged us and told us to go out there and rebound, go after the loose balls, get tip-ins and that's what we did," Rapheal Davis said. "We stepped up to the challenge and we got it done."

Terone Johnson led the Boilermakers with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting in just 16 minutes. Davis scored 14 off the bench in 15 minutes, to go along with seven rebounds. Peck and Ronnie Johnson added 11 points apiece, while Hammons chipped in a dozen.

Purdue shot 54 percent and was 9-of-24 from three-point range, firing at will in the ragged final minutes, but missed 10 of its 24 foul shots, an unwelcome sight for certain.

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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