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November 24, 2013

'Sloppy' victory keeps Purdue unbeaten

At some point, Purdue will lose when it combines its too-consistent formula of poor free throw shooting, inability to stop dribble penetration and lack of effort on the glass.

But it wasn't Sunday.

Despite making only 60 percent of their free throws, watching Siena guards easily slip to the basket and playing even on the boards, the Boilermakers still won, 81-73, over the Saints in Mackey Arena.

The effort and performance, though, left Coach Matt Painter "disappointed."

"I just didn't think we played inspired basketball," Painter said. "I think (Siena has) got a young team and I think those guys were ready to play. I thought they played harder. They were quicker to the basketball. In the grand scheme of things, it's always good to get into closer games and being able to win and hopefully you can learn from some of your mistakes. But we just didn't play fundamental basketball (Sunday).

"We were careless with it. We had too many one-handed rebounds. We had too many turnovers. Eventually when you keep doing that, somebody is going to get you. You haven't learned your lesson yet. But hopefully we can build off the fact that we did step up and make enough necessary plays to win the game and that can help us down the road."

Still, with the mistakes, Purdue has yet to lose this season, pushing its record to 5-0 heading into its biggest test of games so far in this young season next week. The Boilermakers will get No. 7 Oklahoma State on Thursday in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., and then face other quality major programs later.

At least beating the teams they're supposed to beat up to this point is something. Though that didn't seem to be much consolation either, said senior Terone Johnson.

"I didn't feel like we overlooked them but I feel like we didn't come out with enough energy," said Johnson, who scored 15 points and reached 1,000 for his career. "I feel like having a game at (noon), there's not an excuse for coming out lazy like we did. We came out lazy and sluggish and had a lot of sloppy mistakes in the first half, turning the ball over. That's something we've got to fix.

"Going into this tournament, we definitely have to get better at a lot of things."

The Boilermakers led only 39-36 at halftime against the Saints, who had won two of their first four games.

Siena kept that margin through the first seven minutes of the second half, 55-52. But then the Saints had a bit of scoring drought, managing only one field goal over the next four-plus minutes, and Purdue seized control.

The Boilermakers pushed the ball offensively, Ronnie Johnson running a break and feeding Basil Smotherman for a layup and then getting to the line and capitalizing there for a short stretch.

At one point in the second half, Purdue actually made seven of eight free throws, and that helped extend its lead to 66-57.

Johnson added a pull-up jumper and then went coast-to-coast for a bucket after a rebound to push the lead to 10 with about six minutes to play.

Siena never really challenged thereafter.

And, now, Purdue hits the road for a key stretch. There could be some tough practices between now and that Oklahoma State matchup.

"We've got to get on edge," Painter said. "We have to do a better job containing the dribble, rebounding the basketball, just the basic constants in the game of basketball. We lost the possession war (Sunday). You've got to win that, outrebound your opponent and have fewer turnovers to give yourself a chance.

"We'll see. I think sometimes these games that you play at home, guys get into that comfort level because you're at home. I'm not saying that's happening, but I'm not saying it's not happening either. So I think going on the road, maybe that'll help us just having a better focus and being more ready to play."

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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