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December 7, 2013

Steady Scott helps Purdue

Bryson Scott got his first career start by default, but he was on the court at the end of Purdue's 69-64 victory over Eastern Michigan because he earned it.

After sophomore starting point guard Ronnie Johnson was benched because he was late to practice Saturday before the game, Coach Matt Painter gave freshman Scott the nod. Scott was one of four freshmen in the starting lineup, the first time Purdue had that many on the court at the beginning of the game since 2007.

But Scott was only one of two on the floor in crunch time, and he saw that as an opportunity to prove to Painter he deserves his minutes.

Scott delivered against the Eagles in Mackey Arena, scoring 13 of his team-high 16 points in the final seven minutes. Nine of those came on free throws, as Scott made eight-of-nine in the final 54.8 to help seal the victory.

"Being in at the end of the game, I wanted to show (Painter) that he could trust me down the stretch and show him I can be aggressive and be under control," Scott said.

That's been the biggest challenge for the freshman, trying to find a "patiently aggressive," as Painter says, offensive approach.

A bulldog mentality had served Scott so well before he came to Purdue, but putting his head down and barreling toward the basket hasn't been the Boilermakers' best shot. So Painter has been preaching to both his point guards - Johnson, too - about finding a balance between sharing and scoring.

Against Eastern Michigan, Scott came out in control, intending to be a pass-first point guard to start, but then he got more aggressive in the second half of the game when he felt like his team needed it.

In the first half, he took only one shot and had three assists.

In the second, he took six official shots but got to the free throw line after five other drives and had two assists.

"He always comes out and competes, but you have to learn to attack defenses differently depending on style of play. Then you have to learn that you can't go every time," Painter said. "It's not there for you to drive every single time. You have to pick your spots. It's a process. It does take time. He's gotten frustrated at times, and through frustration, I think he's made some strides by watching tape, talking to us. But it's hard for him. He wants to get out there and play more.

"(Saturday), he got the opportunity to do so and he helped us win a game. It was great on his part."

Scott played a career-high 24 minutes, while Johnson played only 16. Scott had five assists, three steals and two turnovers, and Johnson had three assists, two steals and no turnovers.

"I just thought he played better (than Johnson)," Painter said of why he went with the freshman in the final minutes. "He did some good things defensively in that last stretch and he was able to knock down his free throws. We just stayed with him because we thought he was more productive throughout the course of the game."

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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