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Balanced effort

No. 10 Purdue used a second-half surge to beat Austin Peay 87-65 on Tuesday at Mackey Arena.

Again, the Boilermakers got key contributions again throughout the lineup.

Superstars JaJuan Johnson (21 points, 11 rebounds) and E’Twaun Moore (17 points, six rebounds, four steals) showed up.

Freshman Terone Johnson and sophomore D.J. Byrd got their first career starts and performed well: Johnson had seven points, three steals and no turnovers and Byrd had 10 points, five rebounds, four assists and no turnovers.

Point guards Lewis Jackson and Kelsey Barlow were great – can we just call them the best duo in the country? (Check out Wednesday’s paper for more on them.)

Ryne Smith drilled three three-pointers off the bench, crucial against Austin Peay’s zone defense.

And Purdue is 4-0.

None of the victories have come against high-profile opponents, though Oakland was an NCAA tournament qualifier last season, but Barlow said he still has a good gauge on the team.

“We're obviously a talented team, one of the better teams in the country, I think," Barlow said.

But he sees room for improvement, especially on defense. Purdue allowed Austin Peay to shoot 51 percent, 54 percent in the first half.

"I felt like last year early on, (opponents) were struggling a little bit more,” he said. “I could just see defeat more on peoples’ faces. We've been beating them by 20 or so, but, not in a cocky way, we could do a little more at the defensive end. We just come out a little sluggish and let them score whenever they want to.

“We definitely need to increase the effort. I think we put in a good effort, but it definitely needs to go up the next level. We're doing a good job for a normal team, but for our goals to get accomplished, we have to step it up a bit."