WEST LAFAYETTE – Ryne Smith might have developed a new approach to snap a shooting slump.
Maybe these guys need to slap me around before the game, Smith said.
Getting Smith riled up sparked No. 12 Purdues 82-69 victory over Northwestern on Friday at Mackey Arena.
Though senior ETwaun Moore was crucial to the victory by tying a career high with 31 points and setting a career high with seven three-pointers, it was junior Smith who fired up the Boilermakers (13-1, 2-0 Big Ten) late.
When the Wildcats (9-2, 1-0) pulled within 66-61 with about 5 minutes remaining, Smith went on a spurt in which he scored eight points in a three-minute span to give Purdue breathing room.
It was sparked by a skirmish under the basket.
Fighting for a rebound, Smith wound up on the floor and Wildcats guard JerShon Cobb landed on top of him. It was actually Northwesterns Mike Capocci who was called for a foul – he was involved initially in the play – but Cobb flew into the action late.
Smith popped up and got in Cobbs face. An official had to separate the players.
Then Smith made two free throws, dived to smother a tipped pass and drilled two three-pointers in the next 3:01 as Purdues lead grew to 75-64 with 2:15 left.
Smith, who was coming off a career-high 17 points against Michigan, had missed his first five three-pointers against Northwestern.
I did get a little mad there, got a little emotional, which probably shouldnt have happened, but I think that did help me in the long run, said Smith, who had 13 points.
It got everyone fired up. Dru (Anthrop) told me in the locker room (after the game) that after that happened, I just had a different look on my face the rest of the game.
Before Smiths spurt, Moore made most of the big plays to keep Purdue in the lead.
He had a chance to surpass his previous point high – he also had 31 against Southern Illinois this season – but missed two free throws with 4:32 left.
Still, he made Northwestern pay again.
Moore made 11 of 20 shots, 7 of 13 three-pointers, in 39 minutes. In seven career games against the Wildcats, Moore is averaging 20.3 points.
The zone they play, the 1-3-1, I just always happen to find open spots, and the guards always get me the ball when I need it, said Moore, who also had seven rebounds and three assists. Shots were feeling good.