FORT WAYNE – Purdues frustrating basketball season boils down to decision-making for coach Matt Painter.
And the Boilermakers are not making good decisions.
If you make better decisions, you take better shots. Its that simple, Painter said. A lot of people say the shots just werent falling. No, were taking a terrible shot or were taking a shot we dont normally make.
We need a better decision-maker. Thats going to be really important for the future of our team, the decision-making. You cant have a center averaging three turnovers a game. You got to have a point guard who communicates and talks and leads out there by example. We need that togetherness, the ability to make a better decision and take a better shot.
The Boilermakers (15-12, 5-9 Big Ten) will have a difficult time making the seasons frustrations go away tonight when they play host to No. 16 Michigan (19-7, 11-3), which comes into Mackey Arena in first place in the Big Ten.
Michigan, which leads the league in field-goal percentage, has three players averaging double figures in scoring: Nik Stauskas averages 17 points, and Caris LeVert and Glenn Robinson III average 13.3 and 12.9 points.
They have a good system. They all can hurt you, said Painter, whose team lost at Michigan 75-66 on Jan. 30. You look at LeVert and you look at Stauskas, their two best offensive guys, and then you throw in Glenn Robinson. And (Derrick Walton Jr.) has been steady. Hes been great for a true freshman.
(Jon) Horford and (Jordan) Morgan have played just a great grinding Big Ten role. Thats what you need from somebody in your lineup if you are going to win a championship. Thats why they are in that position, not just because of their horses. Its because of guys like (Horford and Morgan) that are older that get it. Thats winning basketball. Thats what they have.
The Boilermakers will be missing one player tonight, possibly two.
Senior guard Sterling Carter, who was averaging 4.8 points, was lost for the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament and medial and lateral meniscus in his right knee in Sundays 76-57 loss to Nebraska.
Fort Wayne native Rapheal Davis, who averages 5.1 points, is expected to take Carters place in the starting lineup.
Purdue may also be without freshman Jay Simpson, who experienced lightheadedness and fell down against Nebraska. Painter said Tuesday that Simpson was undergoing tests and wasnt sure of the forwards availability.
Hopefully, we will know something in the next day or so, Painter said. Anytime something like that happens, thats really scary. You fall down with no contact. You want to be extra careful and do everything in your power to try to figure out what is going on.