West Lafayette-Indiana shot well, Purdue shot better. Indiana scored, Purdue scored more. Indiana played well, Purdue played better. And so went Saturday's game, as the No. 19 Purdue Boilermakers defeated the Indiana Hoosiers, 81-67.
E'Twaun Moore got off to a quick start for the Boilermakers, making four of his first five 3-point attempts. Moore finished with a game high 26 points, which is also a season high for the sophomore guard. He had 20 points in the first half alone on 7-of-9 shooting from the field.
"I felt early that I took some of the same shots as some of my earlier games. As soon as I hit the first two, the rest are much easier to shoot," Moore said.
While Purdue got off to an 11-2 start on the Hoosiers, Indiana continually got shots inside and was able to climb back into the game.
Verdell Jones led the Hoosiers in scoring for the second straight game with 16 points. Jones continued to assert himself inside by driving to the basket and getting shots near the rim.
"I think it's definitely comfort in the offense and the confidence my teammates and the coaches have in me," Jones said about his improved play.
"I think he's a product of coming to practice everyday, trying to make it as competitive as can be," Tom Crean said about Jones. "He's making a lot of progress and there's no reason to think that he's not going to continue to go and make that same kind of progress the rest of the season."
The Boilermakers got out to a lead as big as 11 in the first half, but could never seem to put the Hoosiers away. Both teams shot 46 percent in the opening half, and the teams went into the locker rooms at halftime with Purdue leading 39-30.
The story of the second half was Indiana's effort to come back and Purdue's not letting that happen. The Hoosiers cut the lead to as little as six early in the second half, but Purdue used efficient shooting to make certain that the Hoosiers were thwarted in their comeback attempt.
Purdue was able to hold off the Hoosiers despite getting very little from sophomore Robbie Hummel, who played only 16 minutes Saturday and was held out of the starting lineup by Matt Painter. In the time Hummel did see, he scored three points and grabbed two rebounds.
"At least we were able to put it in that situation. Our guys had to make a lot of basketball plays today. That's what Purdue does to you, they make you make plays. That's a tribute to how well they play and what their pressure is like," Crean said.
After getting very little from its big men in recent games, senior forward Kyle Taber set a career high with ten points before fouling out with 8:35 left to play, while Tom Pritchard was extremely active on the boards early and finished with 12 points.
"I thought he did a very good job. He had a tough assignment, he had to play through some foul issues. He was on the glass, he was aggressive, he made some moves, which we want him to make," Crean said about Pritchard.
Pritchard made 6 of 11 from the field and spoke about the Indiana-Purdue rivalry afterwards.
"Rivalries are crazy, you know? It's our first one and we just have to keep building on it and build on the next game," Pritchard said.
"It's a great rivalry. It transcends players, coaches, it really does. I'm really happy that we're going to have a chance to be a part of this for hopefully a long time," Crean said.
Up next for the Hoosiers is a home game against the Northwestern Wildcats on Wednesday night. In the first matchup of the year in Evanston, the game went down to the wire as Northwestern used two late free throws to prevail over Indiana.
Hoosiers Good, But Boilers Better
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