WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue coach Matt Painter says he’s been surprised this season by the number of turnovers his players have made and that they’ve been outrebounded by opponents.
Anytime you can play well in spurts, we’ve had games and segments where we’ve played well, Painter said. But we haven’t been able to finish things. We’ll play really well for an eight-minute stretch and then for four or five minutes, it’s not just that we play OK, we’re bad.
For at least the second half of Wednesday night’s game, the Boilermakers (2-3) transformed and beat UNC Wilmington 66-40 to end a two-game skid.
Terone Johnson scored a season-high 19 points, including three three-pointers, to help Purdue, who outrebounded the Seahawks (1-3) 40-24 and held them to just five offensive boards.
I think as a team we were more patient, Johnson said. It opened shots up for a lot of us. The shots we’ve been taking those first couple of games was kind of forced shots and tonight they were more open shots and taken within the offense.
DJ Byrd and Travis Carroll each scored 10 points for the Boilermakers.
Keith Rendleman had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Seahawks (1-3).
Johnson, who scored 10 points in the first half, hit a three-pointer at the end of the half to give Purdue a 29-28 lead at halftime.
The Boilermakers (2-3) went on an 18-3 run in the second half.
I thought he did a good job of being aggressive and also picking his spots, Painter said. I thought he took better shots tonight than he did in New York (2K Sports Classic). I thought he got into a good rhythm and he made better decisions.
The Boilermakers go on the road to face the Clemson Tigers in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday. Purdue has won three straight Challenge games.
Their finish against Wilmington gives the Boilermakers some momentum.
It was very important, Johnson said. It was very important to gain the confidence, but also to learn from it as well.