WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue put forward a very different result Tuesday in its 79-50 win over Maryland Eastern Shore at Mackey Arena.
But for coach Matt Painter’s purposes, the concerns remained the same.
Our decision-making right now is not very good, he said. We did a better job moving the ball, we did a better job of being unselfish, but still, it’s too sloppy.
The Boilermakers (9-3) bounced back from a 76-70 loss to Butler in the Crossroads Classic on Saturday, remained undefeated at home and got a tuneup in against the Hawks (2-6) before a crucial matchup at West Virginia on Sunday in the final nonconference game of the season.
We just have a problem with playing full games. I don’t know if it’s the youth or us not keeping our composure at times, said Purdue senior guard Terone Johnson, who had a team-high 14 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals. We’ll look like a team that can win the Big Ten, and then we’ll go a couple possessions where we look like last in the Big Ten. It’s ridiculous.
Johnson said the team goal for turnovers in this game was seven. Purdue committed 10. He also said Purdue wanted to hold the Hawks to less than 25 points a half, which it did in the first but not in the second.
There will, the senior added, be repercussions for the players.
The Boilers trounced Maryland Eastern Shore – which shot 34 percent from the floor, committed 15 turnovers and had just 17 first-half points – but weren’t nearly as good as they expected themselves to be.
If we’re able to take away those lulls and keep the highs up, but not get too high off it, then I think we can be really good, Johnson said. We want to take the bad that we got out of this game – what we did wrong – and correct it.
Painter isn’t putting forth a positive front, either.
To him, unlike many coaches, it serves no purpose. Being positive to the media, he said, only serves to reinforce the players. The coach becomes part of the problem.
So on Tuesday, after a 29-point win in a game Purdue dominated whether it was playing well or poorly, Painter was honest.
His team was lucky it played one of the worst squads in the country, and the Boilermakers won’t be facing that kind of opponent the rest of the season.
Sometimes guys can’t go left, they can’t go a certain way or they can’t handle a certain type of defense, Painter said. We got guys that are up and down in areas: they’re successful, and then they’re unsuccessful. You’ve just got to keep working. You’ve got to keep practicing and really just continue to harp on the same things.
It’s kind of like raising kids.