FORT WAYNE – Purdue learned plenty when it had to sweat out a 65-64 home win over Penn State on Jan. 18.
The Boilermakers built a nine-point lead midway through the first half but led only 35-33 at halftime.
Purdue than fell behind midway through the second half before pulling out the win on A.J. Hammons’ free throw with a second to play.
We just got to be able to protect our lead, guard Ronnie Johnson told reporters of what the Boilermakers (13-8, 3-5 Big Ten) need to do today when they visit the Nittany Lions (11-10, 2-6).
We got to come out and be 10 points better than them. We can’t come out of halftime down or let them get on top of us. We’ve got to keep a steady lead and keep taking it to them. We just have to keep our lead and put the game away when it’s time to.
The Boilermakers also learned how dangerous Penn State guards D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier can be.
Frazier had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Newbill had 17 points and 10 rebounds in the teams’ first meeting this season. Newbill is averaging 17.6 points, and Frazier averages 16.1 points.
They make that team go, Purdue guard and Fort Wayne native Rapheal Davis said. They both pretty much do everything for their team. I think both of them almost had double-doubles against us here. They make that team go.
The Boilermakers had plenty of players going well in the first meeting.
Terron Johnson led four players in double-figure scoring with 14 points. Basil Smotherman and Kendall Stephens each scored 12, and Hammons had 10 points.
Smotherman also had 10 rebounds.
But the Boilermakers were never able to knock the Lions out until the final second.
I felt like during the first game we came with a lot of energy, we just didn’t channel it the right way, Purdue guard and former Northrop standout Bryson Scott said.
We weren’t very detailed. Going into this second game, we are going to be more detailed and try to cover our assignments a little bit better and hopefully get a win at their place.
While Purdue would like to be able to put Penn State away early, the Boilermakers are looking for any kind of win after dropping their third in a row with a 75-66 loss at No. 10 Michigan on Thursday.
I think a lot of people are upset with the way things have been going, Johnson said.
We can’t hang our heads. We have to keep pushing and continue to get better and continue to make each other better and get wins.
I think (today) can be a win to get us back on track before these next few games.