Dakota Mathias

Purdue center Isaac Haas (44) goes after a rebound against North Carolina A&T during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, in West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue won 81-40. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

Mathias, Haas lead No. 23 Purdue over Vermont 107-79

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Dakota Mathias scored 17 points and Isaac Haas added 16 in Purdue’s 107-79 victory over Vermont on Sunday in a game in the Naismith Hall of Fame Tipoff.

Caleb Swanigan added 14 points and 13 rebounds, Vince Edwards scored 14 points, Rapheal Davis had 12 and Kendall Stephens scored 11 for Purdue (2-0).

Stephens and Haas scored 11 points each in a 60-point first half. Purdue’s 18 3-pointers is a school record, besting the 16 the Boilermakers made on Feb. 7, 1998, in a Big Ten victory at Ohio State.

Edwards made the record-breaking 3-pointer from the left wing with 8:27 remaining, giving Purdue a 91-64 lead.

The Boilermakers, who defeated North Carolina A&T 81-40 in their Friday night opener, made 10 of 19 3-point attempts in the first half against Vermont, with six players making at least one.

Through two games, the Boilermakers have made 30 3s.

Ernie Duncan led Vermont (0-2) with 18 points, and Trae Bell-Haynes added 17.

Purdue raced to a 17-4 lead only 5:40 into the game and was never seriously threatened, enjoying a 60-45 lead at the half. The Boilermakers made 17 of 31 field goal attempts (54.8 percent), including 52.6 percent from beyond the arc, in the first half.

A.J. Hammons, Purdue’s 7-foot senior center and leading returning scorer, was benched for a second consecutive game by coach Matt Painter, who has not given a reason why Hammons has not played. Hammons is neither injured nor in trouble with law enforcement. The benching is not expected to be prolonged.

The Boilermakers increased their lead to 68-52 on consecutive 3-pointers by Edwards and Swanigan with just over than 15 minutes remaining. A dunk by Swanigan and a 3-pointer from Mathias expanded the lead to 75-54 with 12:44 remaining, promoting a Vermont timeout.


Vermont: Purdue honored Catamounts recruit Josh Speidel of Columbus, Indiana, in a touching pregame ceremony. Speidel suffered serious injuries in an automobile accident on Super Bowl Sunday and is still receiving therapy for a brain injury. He played AAU basketball with Purdue freshmen Ryan Cline and Grant Weatherford. … Duncan, a redshirt freshman is from Evansville, Indiana.

Purdue: Purdue has won eight consecutive home games, including the final six of 2014-15. … When North Carolina A&T was 0 of 15 from beyond the arc on Friday, it marked the first time since Dec. 4, 2010, at Alabama that an opponent failed to make at least one 3-pointer, a stretch of 161 games. … Purdue is 35-1 in November home games during Painter’s 11 seasons at his alma mater.


Vermont: Hosts Quinnipiac on Wednesday.

Purdue: Hosts Incarnate Word on Wednesday.

Purdue sophomore guard hoping for improvement after offseason medical procedure

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Purdue sophomore guard Dakota Mathias had a positive showing during his first season in 2014-15, becoming a starter late in the season and showing he could be productive in multiple facets of the game. But the 6-foot-4 guard is hoping for an even bigger improvement after receiving an offseason medical procedure that should help him breathe.

According to a story from Nathan Baird of the Journal & Courier, Mathias had procedures this spring to correct a deviated septum and also clean out his sinus cavities. The procedures have helped Mathias improve his conditioning and the team is hoping it will improve his overall game.

“To go longer, to have more endurance and stuff, I can be a better athlete,” Mathias said to Baird. “Being able to last longer in workouts and stuff like that, I think it will definitely help.”

Averaging 4.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game as a freshman, Mathias can hopefully improve his 32 percent 3-point shooting this offseason to give the Boilers more floor spacing around center A.J. Hammons and incoming freshman All-American Caleb Swanigan. It sounds as though he’s off to a great start this offseason and things are looking up for him now that his health has remained more consistent.

Shooting ability of freshman guards can help Purdue’s big men

Matt Painter
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In their 15-17 season last year Purdue endured its share of issues on the offensive end of the floor, shooting 42.7% from the field (ninth in the Big Ten) and 32.7% from beyond the arc (eighth in the Big Ten). With center A.J. Hammons back for his junior season and another seven-footer in freshman Isaac Haas expected to contribute, head coach Matt Painter is looking for options who can help space the floor with consistent perimeter shooting.

Sophomore Kendall Stephens, the team’s best returning three-point shooter, is expected to be an option but the Boilermakers will need more players to step forward on the perimeter if they’re to make a move up the Big Ten standings. In their 90-49 exhibition win over Carroll College Friday night, Purdue received contributions from two freshmen who are looking to crack the rotation.

P.J. Thompson (16 points) and Dakota Mathias (12) combined to shoot 8-for-11 from three in Purdue’s comfortable victory, and in the two exhibitions the newcomers combined to shoot 11-for-17 from beyond the arc. By comparison, the rest of Purdue’s roster shot a combined 4-for-30 from deep in the exhibitions. According to Nathan Baird of the Lafayette Courier-Journal, following the game Thompson noted that the team saw some things on film that they could possibly exploit with he and Mathias being the ones to take advantage.

“When we watched film, we knew this team was going to pack it in on the weak side to help take care of our 7-footers,” said Thompson, who built off of a seven-point, five-assist, four-steal performance in the first exhibition. “We knew if we moved on the weak side and set screens for each other and spotted up, we were going to get some looks.

“Our teammates did a really good job of feeding us the ball, and we were fortunate enough to knock some shots down. But really, it all goes to the presence of our bigs and them drawing all the attention and us feeding off of that.”

Obviously from a talent standpoint Carroll isn’t as formidable as the teams Purdue will see in regular season play, especially when they hit the conference portion of their slate. However exhibitions are helpful in allowing a team the opportunity to work on things against outside competition.

Sophomores Stephens and Bryson Scott and graduate transfer Jon Octeus will clearly be key guards for Purdue this season, but so will Thompson and Mathias as they’ll provide additional depth and production on the perimeter. And if they can carry their shooting into the regular season, Purdue’s big men will have more room to operate in the post.

Purdue should get added shooting and leadership from freshman Dakota Mathias

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Purdue v Kansas
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Purdue will have a new look to its backcourt for the 2014-15 season as main contributors Terone Johnson graduated and Ronnie Johnson transferred to Houston.

Even with that duo in the lineup last season, the Boilermakers still struggled to knock down perimeter jumpers around imposing rising-junior center A.J. Hammons as Matt Painter’s team only shot 32 percent from three-point range last season.

Rising-sophomore wing Kendall Stephens returns, and he knocked down 64 three-pointers last season on the way to 37 percent from the field, but Purdue doesn’t have a lot of other perimeter scoring options. Bryson Scott and Basil Smotherman are both working to be better perimeter scorers, but the two of them combined for five made three-pointers last season.

That makes the incoming freshman class that much more important for next season. Purdue brings in a five-man class with center Isaac Haas, forward Jacquil Taylor, wing Vince Edwards, guard Dakota Mathias and point guard P.J. Thompson, but Mathias, in particular, should really help the Boilers space the floor around Hammons.

In a recent article from Nathan Baird of the Lafayette Journal & Courier, Mathias and his leadership and shooting prowess are the main focus.

The 6-foot-4 native of Elida, Ohio won’t wow anyone with his athleticism next season, but he’s very skilled and shot 48 percent from the three-point line last season. His gym-rat mentality has also impressed his future head coach.

“It’s his craft and he’s worked many hours on it,” Painter said to Baird about his incoming freshman guard. “It’s a frustrating thing to do as a coach, to be honest with you, when you have to plead with certain guys to get in the gym and shoot. My answer to that is to recruit guys who already get in the gym. He’s a guy that always gets in the gym.”

Having gym rats like Mathias entering Purdue should help lift the work ethic of a team that struggled to a 5-13 finish in the Big Ten and 15-17 record overall. Mathias’ perimeter shooting also gives Painter another reliable wing with Kendall Stephens to help space the floor around Hammons.