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November 28, 2013

Boilermakers can't quite catch up

Purdue-Oklahoma State box score

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Purdue hopes it'll be able to look back at its spirited comeback in the face of a blowout loss against fifth-ranked Oklahoma State and use it as a springboard of sorts.

But the jury is out following the 97-87 Cowboy win, Purdue's first loss of the season.

"We find out tomorrow," said Coach Matt Painter, whose team will play either Butler or Washington State Friday in the Old Spice Classic. "We didn't find out in the second half. Anybody can play hard down 25, make it close, then not win the game. We didn't win the game. That's what happened today."

Oklahoma State, led by 30 points from Player-of-the-Year candidate Marcus Smart and 25 from running mate Markel Brown led 52-29 at halftime and was still up more than 20 midway through the second half.

But used a run of 12 consecutive points to get within a half dozen around the six-minute mark, a burst started by a Basil Smotherman tip-in and concluded by a Terone Johnson three-pointer and two Bryson Scott free throws.

Back-to-back Kendall Stephens jumpers - one a mid-range two off glass, the other a long three - cut the No. 5-ranked team's lead to just four.

Things stalled there, however, as Smart came back off the bench after sitting an extended period due to foul trouble and foul-plagued, short-handed Purdue ran out of both gas and bodies.

In the first half, it lost Jay Simpson to ejection, after the redshirt freshman swung his arm at a Cowboy player who'd taunted him. In the second, it lost comeback-catalyst Ronnie Johnson when he returned trash-talk fire while saddled with four fouls and getting disqualified on a double-technical.

Foul issues put Purdue in a hole, but Oklahoma State dealt with similar problems after halftime, losing Smart for a significant stretch of important minutes.

And the Boilermakers, really, put themselves in a hole with their play in the first half.

Purdue was disjointed on offense, shooting only 28 percent and stubbornly attacking Oklahoma State's superior athleticism and length on the perimeter.

In the second half, Purdue was more methodical, coming away with 59-percent shooting to show for it.

"We slowed things down and ran Purdue's offense in the second half," said freshman Bryson Scott, who scored a team-best 18 points. "In the first half, guys like me, I forced a lot of shots and was making a lot of selfish plays. In the second half, we came out and played as a team and were about to chop their lead down and make good plays. That was the difference."

And Painter's halftime message.

"He said he wanted to test us to see if we'd play hard and play together, that we had to get that figured out," said senior Terone Johnson, one of five double-digit scorers or Purdue. "I think we got that figured out for the most part, but we needed to start the game like that."

More to come ….

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