WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue immediately wanted to play again after getting embarrassed by in-state rival Indiana.
Turns out, the eight-day break from games was good for the Boilermakers. Terone Johnson scored 22 points to help Purdue defeat Northwestern 74-43 on Sunday night and snap a three-game losing streak.
The wait helped Purdue perfect its game plan against a structured Northwestern offense that can be difficult to defend.
I think it’s always tough to wait that long, especially after coming off a loss the way we lost at IU, Johnson said. You feel like you want to play the next day to get that loss off your mind. But I thought it was a definite advantage against their (Northwestern’s) system. The way they do things, you have to play totally different. It definitely helped us out.
Though the Boilermakers were forced to wait to play, they wasted no time getting back to work.
I think we had a lot of good practices in a row, Johnson said. When we came back from IU, we didn’t take a day off, we practiced the next day. We had a really hard practice, actually, and I think that carried on into the week of practice.
D.J. Byrd scored 13 points and Ronnie Johnson and Fort Wayne native Rapheal Davis added 10 each for the Boilermakers (13-14, 6-8 Big Ten). It was the second-largest victory margin of the season for Purdue and the worst loss of the season for Northwestern.
Tre Demps led Northwestern with nine points. Snider grad Reggie Hearn, who scored 26 points in Northwestern’s 75-60 win Feb. 2, finished with eight.
Northwestern (12-15, 5-9) has lost its past three games. Coach Bill Carmody said the latest blowout loss started with getting beat up inside.
You can’t let them get the ball so deep, Carmody said. That’s the first thing. There’s a sweet spot that they get it at, then it’s one dribble into their favorite move. If you can push him out eight feet from the basket posting up instead of five feet, it’s significant.