No doubt JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore showed how special they are. Again.
Johnson had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Moore had 26 points and four assists in an 82-67 victory over Oakland.
But when Purdue was in a battle Sunday, when NCAA tournament qualifier Oakland was hanging close early in the second half, the superstars got a boost from their supporting cast.
Purdue led 47-43 when Terone Johnson sank a three-pointer. After Oakland converted a three-point play, Purdue reserve guard John Hart made a three-pointer.
Oakland scored on consecutive trips to cut the gap to 53-51, and Hart answered with a rainbow in the lane.
Then backup point guard Kelsey Barlow had a hard drive to the basket for a bucket, and Hart added another basket.
Then Barlow sank two free throws.
That was a 14-point spurt exclusively by reserves.
"They're really important for us, especially this game," JaJuan Johnson said. "They're going to be really important for us the whole year. It might not be myself or E'Twaun's night, and we're going to need that spark to come off the bench. We're definitely going to need the bench to be on their A game to compete with the teams in the Big Ten."
Terone Johnson scored 10 points. Barlow had five assists and no turnovers and three rebounds. Hart had 11 points. D.J. Byrd had six points and two rebounds.
"We just had to stay focused on the sidelines and be ready to go in and take over the role that people were doing," Terone Johnson said.
- Redshirt freshman forward Sandi Marcius didn't play. Coach Matt Painter said Marcius has been battling a nagging groin injury.
- JaJuan Johnson's five assists and four steals were career highs. He also tied a career high with 40 minutes played.
- Barlow joked that he should have had at least eight assists. But he certainly had the most impressive of the night. After a steal, Moore got the ball up the court to Barlow on the break. Barlow delivered a no-look, bounce back behind him with his left hand that went right to JaJuan Johnson, who finished the play with a two-handed dunk.
"I thought E'Twaun was going to pass to me earlier because I was trying to get my own dunk, truthfully," Barlow said with a smile. "But then I saw the defender was going to cut me off, so he was going to contest it. So I kind of looked both ways. I saw E'Twaun and I saw JaJuan coming in. I knew (the defender) might be able to contest E'Twaun's (shot) because he's a little smaller. I knew he wouldn't contest JaJuan, so I threw it to JaJuan."