USA Today Sports Images

Purdue's Size Shows No Love for Rutgers While Nigel Johnson Lifts Bench with

Purdue bullied an over-matched Rutgers basketball team on Valentine's Day with a 74-55 victory. Guard Nigel Johnson kept it competitive for the Scarlet Knights with a scorching 54 percent clip and 23 points off the bench.

A career night for Nigel Johnson off the bench was not close to enough in a dominating Purdue victory.

While Rutgers scrapped in a road loss to the ranked Boilermakers, Purdue clobbered Rutgers 45-28 on the boards and 42-18 in the paint. Head coach Steve Pikiell started the same lineup but tried a two-center approach to no avail against one of the biggest teams in college basketball.

“It's a tough place to play obviously,” Pikiell said on his post-game radio interview with Jerry Recco and Joe Boylan. “We're just going to have to rebound better against a team like that. It's, by far, the biggest team in the league up front. We didn't have that kind of shooting night. Rebounding wise, I'm just surprised. We've been beaten on the glass the last two games. That's been one of the things that we could count on night in and night out and we obviously didn't do that tonight.”

Purdue kept a massive free-throw advantage in spite of its physicality inside. Rutgers did not receive a free-throw attempt until the final three minutes of the game. It missed.

Isaac Haas stole the show off the bench with Purdue thanks to 24 points, 11 boards and 82 percent shooting.

“We have a couple big guys, too, but he made those guys all look small today,” Pikiell said.

Johnson scored a career-high 23 points on 54 percent shooting off the bench. Johnson nailed five of six threes for another career best. Mike Williams and Issa Thiam remained starters in Pikiell's reshuffled lineup. Junior forward Candido Sa remains significantly limited with his fifth minute in the last four games.

“Thank God he [had it],” Pikiell said. “He was in the zone and we needed every one of those. Unfortunately we needed a couple more guys to kind of step up and play along with him. We didn't get that but it's good to have him back and hopefully keep him in that vein.”


Scarlet Report Top Stories