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Grant plays complete game, helps Purdue win big

Keaton Grant's mom Celia came into West Lafayette over Christmas break and used the opportunity to speak plainly to her son about his play.

She told him to be aggressive to the basket and to lay off jacking three-pointers.

He obliged and has produced two of the more complete back-to-back games of his career.

Against West Virginia, Grant had eight points, six rebounds, four steals, three assists and only one turnover in 26 minutes. That was coming off a game at Iowa when Grant was great (nine points, three assists, no turnovers) for the brief time he played in the second half with foul trouble.

Grant dubbed his game against the Mountaineers as "all right," considering he missed a couple layups. That was why later in the game off a steal he made sure to get a nice lift and go up and dunk with two hands.

"A lot of people said this is the best all-around game I've played this year. Probably so," Grant said. "I'm just having a lot of fun playing. It's just fun to be out there, enjoying my teammates and watching us put points on the board, locking up on defense, rebounding.

"West Virginia couldn't do anything (Friday)."

Grant attempted only one three-pointer -- he missed -- for the second consecutive game. But his energy never wavered, and he played great defense on the various West Virginia players he was matched up with.

Early in the season, I think there was a murmur among some fans as to why Grant was starting. Some felt freshman Kelsey Barlow and his explosiveness on offense deserved the nod. Can't imagine there's much clamor for Barlow now. Grant is playing exactly like he should: Focusing on defense, being sure-handed and efficient with the ball on offense (career-best assist-to-turnover ratio) and crashing the boards at points to get crucial putbacks.

"Keaton did a good job," coach Matt Painter said. "He had a couple nice drives, a couple nice putbacks there in the first half. He got some steals. He was active."

  • For more on Purdue's victory over West Virginia, check out these links from the national guys in attendance. Here's Mike DeCourcy's interesting take on the game, saying the Boilermakers didn't make "a statement" because it won at home. Hmmmm, OK.'s Andy Katz also was at the game, he thinks Purdue's victory added credibility.