Tag: A.J. Hammons

Jorden Kaufman, A.J. Hammons
Associated Press

No. 11 Purdue beats Youngstown State 95-64, goes 11-0

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Freshman Caleb Swanigan and senior A.J. Hammons both scored 15 points to lead four Purdue players in double figures and the 11th-ranked Boilermakers remained unbeaten with a 95-64 victory over Youngstown State on Saturday.

Hammons added 11 rebounds. Rapheal Davis and Issac Haas both scored 13 points for Purdue (11-0), which had a 54-point second half.

Matt Donlan had 19 points to lead Youngstown State (4-6).

Purdue improved to 11-0 for the first time since the 2009-10 team won its first 14. The Boilermakers have won every game by at least 12 points, pulling away from Youngstown State during the second half.

A 3-pointer from Dakota Mathias gave the Boilermakers a 76-55 lead, and a free throw from Haas extended it to 77-55 with 7:17 remaining. Two free throws by Swanigan with 4:09 to play pushed the lead to 86-59.

A layup by Hammons and consecutive dunks by Hammons and Davis gave Purdue a 61-41 lead with 12:17 remaining, prompting a Youngstown State timeout.

Tied at 18 with 8:58 remaining in the first half, Purdue closed the opening 20 minutes on a 23-12 burst, including 3-pointers from Davis and Ryan Cline, for a 41-30 lead.

Swanigan had 11 points, two rebounds and two assists for the Boilermakers in the first half, and Davis added nine points on three 3-pointers. Purdue was 6 of 11 from beyond the arc before halftime.

TIP-INS

Youngstown State: This was the Penguins second trip ever to West Lafayette, dropping a 65-54 decision on Dec. 17, 1983. … Youngstown State was coming off a week of final exams after a 60-56 loss to American on Dec. 4. … The Penguins have not beaten a Top 25 opponent since 1952 when they defeated No. 19 La Salle 68-57.

Purdue: Boilermakers starting point guard P.J. Thompson left the game with 17:21 remaining in the first half after being poked in the right eye under the basket. … Purdue fans applauded loudly with 5:49 left in the first half when coach Matt Painter inserted the 7-foot-2 Hammons into the lineup with 7-footer Isaac Haas, the first time this season he has played the two together.

UP NEXT

Youngstown State hosts Geneva on Tuesday.

Purdue plays Butler in the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis on Dec. 19.

Scoring options, defense make No. 21 Purdue a Big Ten contender

Matt Painter
Associated Press
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Entering the season the one question mark for No. 21 Purdue was how their perimeter play would combine with a talented front court. If this weekend at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut is any indication, the Boilermakers are deserving of the “contender” label in a competitive Big Ten.

Matt Painter’s team went on a 12-0 second half run Sunday afternoon, pulling away from Florida and winning what was at one time a competitive game by the final score of 85-70. What stood out for Purdue offensively this weekend was the many options they have, which allows for them to make up for off nights from an expected contributor.

One day after A.J. Hammons and Kendall Stephens combined to score 30 points off the bench in their 61-39 win over Old Dominion, it was P.J. Thompson who stepped forward against the Gators. Thompson scored 15 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists without a single turnover. Thompson’s play in the reserve point guard role not only made up for starter Johnny Hill’s quiet outing (two points, one assists, three turnovers), but it also helped Purdue account for Stephens going scoreless on 0-for-7 shooting.

In total five Boilermakers scored in double figures, with the Big Ten’s best defender in senior Rapheal Davis leading the way with 18 points, shooting 50 percent from the field and 11-for-26 from beyond the arc (which includes Stephens’ 0-for-6). Given the interior scoring Purdue can get from the likes of Hammons, Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan and the all-around game of sophomore forward Vince Edwards, opportunities to score from the perimeter will be there for this group.

The key is that the guards take advantage, and to this point in the season that’s happened. And when someone, in Sunday’s case both Hill and Stephens, struggles there’s another option ready to step forward. Thompson was productive off the bench against Florida, and the same can be said of fellow guard Dakota Mathias who hit two three-pointers during the second half run that essentially decided the outcome.

Of course some will point to the level of competition Purdue ran into this weekend, but keep in mind that they beat two solid teams in Connecticut. ODU will be a contender in Conference USA, and Florida should have a good year especially once the injured Alex Murphy returns to the rotation.

Part of being a contending team is proving that you can take care of the games you’re expected to win. Thus far Purdue’s done exactly that, using the combination of an offense with multiple options and a stifling defense to get the job done. When discussing who Big Ten contenders, the Boilermakers certainly deserve mentioning.

More options equals more competition for Purdue

Matt Painter
Associated Press
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On the heels of their first NCAA tournament appearance in three seasons, Purdue is preparing for a 2015-16 season in which there will be heightened expectations. Of the ten players to average 10.7 minutes or more per contest a season ago nine return, and additions such as grad student Johnny Hill and five-star freshman Caleb Swanigan are expected to have an impact as well.

With that comes increased competition for playing time, and in the Boilermakers’ preseason preparations that’s serving as additional motivation according to Nathan Baird of the Lafayette Journal & Courier. Veterans such as seniors Rapheal Davis and A.J. Hammons, with the former due to be team captain for a third consecutive season, aren’t resting on past accomplishments and neither are their younger teammates.

Because doing so leaves one at risk of finding themselves on the outskirts of Matt Painter’s rotation.

You’ve got to fight day in and day out,” Hammons said. “We’ve got four bigs now, so my spot can get taken at any point. Even though I’ve been here four years and have more experience, it doesn’t really matter, because I know I came in as a freshman and started.”

So did now-sophomore Isaac Haas, who temporarily outplayed Hammons last season and overtook him for starting duties. Hammons adopted the mentality Purdue coach Matt Painter said he wants from his entire roster — that temporary physical pain or mental fatigue are preferable to falling down the depth chart.

Having competition within a roster is definitely a positive, especially if all involved compete while also pushing towards the common goal of winning games. Purdue, which managed to earn a double-bye in the Big Ten tournament, took an important step forward last season and given their talent can do even more in 2015-16.

The question at this stage is just how deep Painter will go in his rotation, with there being a host of possibilities at his disposal. The goal for his players is to make the process a difficult one, by not resting on their laurels and being ready to compete every day.