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November 17, 2013

Carter sparks Purdue

Purdue-Rider box score

With Purdue scratching and clawing against Rider in its second survive-and-advance sort of end-game scenario in three outings to date this season, Sterling Carter dove on a mishandled ball, then got piled on, drawing one of the final fouls in an evening full of them.

Next time down, Purdue's first-year fifth-year senior generated a steal, advanced the ball to Ronnie Johnson in the open floor, then hustled to tip in Johnson's miss.

It was this sequence that propelled the Boilermakers to their uncomfortably close 81-77 win over the Broncs, a victory that ran Purdue's record this young season to 3-0, but not without more than a few Maalox moments.

Like when Rider erased a 13-point first-half deficit with a 15-2 run to close the first half, en route to leading by as many as nine in the second half. Or as the Boilermakers missed more than half their 31 free-throw attempts, while the Broncs made nearly 80 percent of theirs as the two schools combined to be whistled for 54 fouls.

But much like the season opener against Northern Kentucky, Purdue got through, doing what it needed to do in the final minutes to win a game it likely would have lost last season.

"That start of the second (half) was so important," Coach Matt Painter said of a game that was tied at 40 at halftime, with the visitors trending upward, "and (Rider) won that. The got us on our heels a little bit. But it was good to see our guys fight back and make the necessary plays to win."

Starting with Carter, who came to Purdue known for his shooting but promising to contribute much more.

"My shot is off right now and I know I can help my team in other ways," Carter said. "That's what I was trying to do."

Carter provided the spark Purdue needed to overcome Rider in the game's final minutes, but big man Jay Simpson loomed equally large, in a game in which center A.J. Hammons was plagued by fouls and generally uninvolved.

With two-and-a-half minutes left and Purdue up four, Simpson passed out of the post to a wide-open Rapheal Davis for a layup, one of the redshirt freshman's two assists passing out of post-ups; a minute later, his spirited effort on the boards resulted in an offensive rebound of Davis' missed three, and a foul. Simpson's foul shot made it a seven-point game.

"It was just me playing with energy," Simpson said.

Ronnie Johnson led Purdue with 16 points, making 6-of-9 shots in 23 turnover-free minutes. He delivered a couple proverbial daggers, most notably a layup off a steal with 20 seconds left to finalize the scoring.

Terone Johnson delivered 14 points and five assists, also without a turnover.

The two siblings were keys to victory, but also part of what put Purdue in another uncomfortable position. The two guards were a combined 5-of-14 from the foul line, as Purdue shot less than 50 percent from the stripe collectively.

Rider had no such issues, taking advantage of Purdue's incessant fouling - the game actually ended up even in foul calls between the two teams - to the tune of nearly 80-percent shooting.

(The Broncs, however, made only three of their last eight attempts.)

Shooting was an issue for Purdue in other phases, also.

After Terone Johnson and Errick Peck made threes in the first minute of the game, Purdue was just 1-of-13 the rest of the way.

And Purdue got out-rebounded, 37-34.

It was a flawed performance by the Boilermakers in Game 3, right from the beginning.

"We were really good at times in the first half," Painter said, "and really bad at others. There was no in-between."

Purdue's new depth did show up against Rider, though, as its second unit triggered an 11-0 run in the first half, putting the Boilermakers on a path to a robust, but short-lived cushion.

Bryson Scott and Carter were parts of that spark.

"We just want to bring energy," Scott said, after scoring 11 points in 18 minutes, also without a turnover. "We just want to take full advantage of our opportunities when they come."

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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