Rapheal Davis

Purdue’s Rapheal Davis doubtful against Pitt

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Purdue senior guard Rapheal Davis will likely miss his second consecutive game on Tuesday night as he recovers from a sprained MCL that he suffered in practice last week.

The Boilermakers travel to unbeaten Pitt tonight to play in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and Purdue associate SID Chris Forman said on Twitter that Davis is doubtful and couldn’t make it through practice the last few days.

While it will hurt Purdue to be without the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Davis is apart of a pretty deep Purdue team that should still be very competitive without him. The senior also missed Purdue’s win over Lehigh on Saturday and it’s probably best to make sure he’s healthy for the Big Ten conference season as the Boilers have big aspirations.

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

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

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.

Rapheal Davis, A.J. Hammons help lead Purdue past No. 20 Ohio State

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On a team that entered Wednesday’s home game against No. 20 Ohio State with six players averaging between 8.8 and 11.0 points per game, Purdue junior center A.J. Hammons has led the way in scoring despite going through occasional bouts with foul trouble. But in three of the Boilermakers’ last four games, all wins, the 7-footer has committed two fouls or less and that has allowed him to have a greater impact on the action.

Wednesday night Hammons didn’t reach double figures in scoring but he was a factor in other areas, as Purdue went on a 10-0 run late int he second half and ultimately held off the Buckeyes 60-58 in West Lafayette. Hammons scored seven points on 3-for-3 shooting from the field, and he also accounted for seven rebounds, seven blocks, two assists and two steals.

Against an Ohio State team that doesn’t have the pieces needed to match up with him, Hammons was at times a commanding presence in the post.

As for the scoring, that was handled by Rapheal Davis (20 points, six rebounds before fouling out) and Jon Octeus (14 points, seven rebounds). Purdue didn’t shoot a high percentage from the field, making 42.2% of their shots, but they did outscore the Buckeyes 19-6 from the foul line. And on a night in which the Buckeyes were without their best perimeter shooter in sophomore Marc Loving, the foul line had a significant impact on the outcome.

D’Angelo Russell scored 20 points to lead the way for Ohio State but he was made to work for his looks, and the freshman shot 7-for-18 from the field as a result. Sam Thompson scored nine points but did so on 4-for-10 shooting and fellow senior Shannon Scott (two points) made just one of his eight field goal attempts, producing numbers that had to be better if the Buckeyes were to account for the loss of their second-leading scorer.

And for that Purdue, which entered the game tops in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (conference games only), deserves credit. And the focal point of the defense was Hammons, who served as the last line of defense on multiple occasions and did so without fouling. The good thing for Purdue this season is that they have freshman Isaac Haas to plug into the middle when need be, but Hammons has to stay on the floor (and be engaged) for the Boilermakers be at their best.

That hasn’t been an concern in recent games, which is one reason why Matt Painter’s team is now 7-3 in Big Ten play.