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Byrd proves big for Boilermakers

D.J. Byrd has had back, shoulder and hip injuries this season.

But he said his body is finally feeling pretty good.

It showed against Indiana on Wednesday.

Byrd, a sophomore, had 11 points, nine rebounds, an assist and a steal in 27 minutes in No. 8 Purdue's 72-61 victory over the Hoosiers at Assembly Hall.

Byrd made two three-pointers in the first half to help the Boilermakers to a 41-31 lead and finished with three three-pointers in the game.

"Coach (Matt) Painter gets mad if you don't shoot open shots, so I take advantage of those opportunities," Byrd said with a smile.

Byrd's nine rebounds were a career high but kept him short of his first double-double.

He said he wasn't even aware he was close but then joked, "I guess (JaJuan Johnson) kind of snaked my last rebound. But we won't talk about that."

Painter liked Byrd's effort, saying he "made hustle plays all night."

  • Johnson played only 27 minutes because of foul trouble, his lowest total since Game 2 when he played only 16 in a blowout of Alcorn State. Without Johnson for nearly the final five minutes of the first half, though, Purdue extended its lead by eight points.

    "It's a positive for us going forward is how well we played when he was out of the game," Painter said.

    Johnson made the most of his minutes, though, with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting and nine rebounds.

    "It definitely was rough, sitting on the bench because it really hasn't happened the whole year," he said. "I felt like I was kind of due for at least one game this year where something like that would happen. But every player goes through it. I'm glad we just got the win."

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