Purdue looks for more than just a win tonight at 9 p.m. in Mackey Arena when Boston College visits as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
It'll look for consistency after being all over the map during three Old Spice Classic games in Florida.
Projected starters (best guess): C - A.J. Hammons; F - Errick Peck; F- Basil Smotherman; G - Ronnie Johnson; G - Terone Johnson
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Purdue played three great halves in Florida, but also three awful ones, and the result was a disappointing 1-2 record in the neutral-site portion of the Old Spice Classic and a seventh-place finish.
Coach Matt Painter said he's never seen anything in his coaching career like this particular team's dramatic swings from one half to the next.
"You watch guys have success against each one of those teams, but also failure against each one of the teams, when it's the same style and the same game," Painter said. "We've always talked about it: If it's matchups or style of play or one team's playing man and the other zone and you have struggles with it, then you have to get to practice and work on it. But we're showing success and failure against the same thing. It just lies within us to continue to plug and continue to work. If it wasn't there, then we wouldn't have any success at all."
"I don't have the answer at this point, as to why you could be really good one half, really bad the other half. Sure, there are going to be times you're not quite as good (one half to the next), but you should still be able to hold serve and maybe not have a great half, but not have a bad one."
Against Oklahoma State in Game 1 in Kissimmee, Fla., Purdue allowed 52 first-half points and trailed by 23 at the break, then rallied in the second to get within four late.
Far more disappointingly, the next day, the Boilermakers allowed 52 in the second half to Washington State after only allowing 17 in the first half, blowing a double-digit halftime lead and getting run in the second half against a team that had lost its last three games and is projected to finish near the bottom of the Pac-12.
Afterward, sophomore Rapheal Davis said, the locker room was dead quiet.
"Nobody said a word," Davis said. "I don't think anybody talked the rest of the day. … We were down there for a while before Coach Painter talked to us and after he was done, everybody was just sitting around not saying anything."
The Boilermakers responded in the seventh-place game against Siena in a malaise, getting dominated in the first half before taking their first lead of the game with less than 30 seconds left, then holding on to salvage something from the trip.
Purdue is breaking in numerous new players from last year, but Painter won't use that as a crutch for his team's startling inconsistency.
"We've played (10) games counting exhibitions and we've had scrimmages, so we've had time to work it out. One of our freshmen (Jay Simpson) is a guy who was here last year and two of our other guys have been in college basketball, now in their fifth year (Errick Peck and Sterling Carter). Our three freshmen have all played significant minutes, so it's not like they're getting five or 10 minutes. They're getting from 10-25 minutes per game.
Painter juggled his lineups for the Siena game, replacing A.J. Hammons and Kendall StephensClick "Hopefully, that's part of it, because if it is, that's a good thing. If it's not, then it's just, 'That's who you are,' and that's something I don't want to believe at this point. We have to be more consistent across the board on a daily basis, in my opinion, to be more consistent in games."Here to view this Link. in the starting five with Jay Simpson and Basil Smotherman, starting Smotherman alongside fellow 4 man Peck for the purpose of rebounding and defense, Painter said.
It remains to be seen whether Painter will stick with the same starting five, but it should be noted Hammons responded to coming off the bench with one of his better games of the season at both ends, six turnovers aside.
Also responding well against Siena was point guard Ronnie Johnson, who Painter clearly wasn't pleased with after the first two losses in Orlando.
The Boilermaker coach has said often he wants to see the point guard "lead," finding a balance between facilitating and scoring.
"Ronnie did a great job for us getting the ball where it needed to be," Painter said. "He didn't turn the ball over and he made his free throws. We had the ball at the rim countless times in the first half and came away with very little and I thought Ronnie had at least a handful of assists taken away from him because either our guys couldn't catch the ball or couldn't finish."
Painter said of Boston College, "They don't play exactly like Michigan, but they do some things similar to Michigan and they do it very well."
The Eagles, a team many expected to be good this season, are 3-4 but have played a solid schedule that's put them up against notable programs Providence, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Washington. Like Purdue, though, B.C. has had to skate by against some lesser programs, losing to Toledo 95-92 at home and just barely sneaking past Florida Atlantic 82-79 before needing overtime to get past Sacred Heart in Chestnut Hill.
Steve Donohue's team did give ranked UConn a scare at the 2K Sports Classic, though, rallying from a double-digit second-half hole to lose 72-70.
The Eagles are led by sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan, a 6-foot-4 native of Quebec who averages 21.7 points and has done it on only 89 field goal attempts through seven games. He shoots 47 percent, including 38 percent from three-point range and 84 from the foul line. He scored 38 against FAU.
Junior Ryan Anderson, a 6-9 forward, is an inside-outside big man who averages 19 points and seven rebounds and will make the Boilermaker big men defend him on the perimeter, which could get dicey. He's been consistent, scoring 20 or more in four of seven games this season.
Guard Joe Rahon averages 13.6 points and shoots nearly 41 percent from three.
Boston College averages 79.9 points on average but also allows 79.9 points.
Of note: Purdue's won its last four ACC/Big Ten games, including its win last season at Clemson, and will look to help its league out of the 2-4 hole it fell into after Tuesday's games. … Boston College collectively shoots 84 percent from the foul line. … The Eagles have gotten outrebounded on average this season by a decided margin of 33.6-29.3, having allowed 84 offensive rebounds in seven games. To start the season, Boston College was outrebounded by Providence and UMass by 16 and 17, respectively. … B.C. also is barely above even with 93 assists to 83 turnovers.
Prediction: Not that history matters all that much, but Purdue's on a hot streak in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. This game won't be easy by any means - nothing has been for these Boilermakers - but after a few days sitting in their Florida struggles, we'd expect Purdue to get off to a better start and exhibit slightly better consistency. Purdue 79, Boston College 75
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