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"Good things happen when he gets the basketball"

Johnson makes game-winner for Purdue

Matt Painter constantly reminds his players -- not always in an encouraging way -- to get the ball inside to JaJuan Johnson.

Feeding Johnson on the perimeter works, too.

Johnson scored 25 points and made a deep jumper from the wing with 3.4 seconds left to lift No. 14 Purdue to a 63-62 victory over Penn State Wednesday at Mackey Arena.

It's not a shot Johnson would have been comfortable taking two years ago -- or one Painter would even have wanted him to take in a clutch situation.

But Johnson's tireless work ethic to improve his shooting paid dividends when he calmly switched the shot against the Nittany Lions.

When Ryne Smith inbounded the ball with 5.4 seconds to play, Johnson wasn't necessarily the option. Purdue was running screens and getting movement and was supposed to react to what the defense was doing.

E'Twaun Moore's screen freed Johnson, who said his defender moved inside, so he popped outside.

And, finally, with the game in the balance, Johnson got a chance to take the game-winner.

"The thing that's difficult is he's 6-10, long and athletic, and big guys aren't used to chasing guys off screen," Painter said. "They're the guys showing on screens. So when you have a guy like that and you move him in and out, I just think he's a tough guard. Then he's got such a high release point, it's tough to get to him once he gets in rhythm.

"Good things happen when he gets the basketball."