Tag: Matt Painter

Matt Painter
Associated Press

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

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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.

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

Isaac Haas
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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 forward Basil Smotherman to redshirt

Basil Smotherman
Associated Press
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With freshman forward Caleb Swanigan officially cleared for competition a couple days ago, Purdue has its full allotment of players for what should be one of the nation’s best front court rotations. With their combination of talent, depth and size, head coach Matt Painter won’t lack for options as the Boilermakers look to make a second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and contend in the Big Ten.

Those options also mean that junior forward Basil Smotherman will redshirt, with the news being announced by Purdue Sunday afternoon. There were discussions about the 6-foot-6 Smotherman taking this path earlier this fall, using the redshirt season to improve his skill set with an eye towards being a major contributor in 2016-17, so the news wasn’t stunning at all.

In addition to Swanigan, Purdue has centers A.J. Hammons (center) and Isaac Haas (sophomore) and sophomore forward Vince Edwards. Add in 6-foot-10 redshirt freshman Jacquil Taylor and the presence of guards such as Rapheal Davis and Kendall Stephens who can allow Purdue to play small at times if they so choose, and spending a season honing his craft makes sense in Smotherman’s case.

In his first two seasons at Purdue Smotherman averaged 3.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 57.6 percent from the foul line. More of an athletic slasher who can finish at the rim offensively, the season away from game competition should allow Smotherman to improve his perimeter shot.