WEST LAFAYETTE – A.J. Hammons didnt look like hed missed any playing time.
Purdues 7-foot center returned after being suspended for both exhibition games and the regular-season opener for violating team rules. He had 12 points, seven blocks and five rebounds in just 17 minutes to help the Boilermakers beat Central Connecticut State 109-73 on Wednesday night.
Hammons said he was glad to be back.
It felt really great, to tell you the truth, he said. Sitting on the bench kind of sucked. It felt good to be out there with my teammates.
Hammons wasnt trying to make up for lost time when he returned.
I just came out to play, he said. Coaches told me to just focus and dont try to do too much extra stuff. They said to just come out and play. I made a couple of good plays, I guess, at the beginning and it just kept going into the second half.
At times last season, Hammons could be lured into committing fouls on his block attempts. He got his seven blocks on Wednesday while committing just one foul.
We talk about it, Purdue coach Matt Painter said. We watch film in terms of when to wall up and stay big and when to be able to commit to blocking a shot. You dont realize how big he is until sometimes when he just actually raises his hands, and sometimes, hell block a shot just standing flat on his feet.
Terone Johnson scored 17 points, Rapheal Davis scored 14 points and Errick Peck and Ronnie Johnson each added 11 for the Boilermakers (2-0), who bounced back from a shaky effort in a 77-76 win over Northern Kentucky on Nov. 8. The Boilermakers shot 54 percent from the field and committed just nine turnovers.
It was the highest point total by a Purdue team since scoring 119 against LIU-Brooklyn on Nov. 14, 1997.
Kyle Vinales scored 22 points for Central Connecticut State, but he made just 6 of 21 field goals. Faronte Drakeford added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue Devils (0-2).
We were basically helpless, Central Connecticut coach Howie Dickenman said. Ive been around the block a little bit, but I dont think Ive ever used the word helpless because we just didnt have any answers.
Central Connecticut started off on an 8-2 run. After Purdue evened things up at 10, the Blue Devils pushed their lead out to 17-12.
The Boilermakers responded with an 18-0 run that spanned more than five minutes to take control of the game.
We just decided that we were going to lock down and play harder than the way we had before, Peck said. We got some rebounds, got the ball moving a little bit. Just rebounding the ball was really key.