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Boiling Point


Purdue notebook: Tough test for opener

Some schools like to ease into the season. That won't be the case Friday for the Purdue men's basketball team.

The Boilermakers will be tested in their season opener against Bucknell.

"They are a very good team and everybody on their team is back except one guy, who was their fourth or fifth leading scorer and a good player for them," Purdue coach Matt Painter said during his weekly teleconference Wednesday.

"They are a very good shooting team, experienced. … They are a dangerous team."

Bucknell went 25-10 last season and won the Patriot League regular-season title with a 12-2 mark.

Mike Muscala led the team in scoring (17 points) and rebounding (9.1) last season. The 6-foot-11 center was the Patriot League Player of the Year in 2011 and a first-team All-Patriot League pick in 2012.

"He's really a big forward," Painter said. "His ability to shoot and drive the ball is a tough matchup for a lot of people. That's not their only weapon."

Guards Cameron Ayers and Bryson Johnson averaged 11.1 and 9.3 points, respectively.

"They are a very good perimeter team, very efficient in the halfcourt. They remind me a lot of Butler in terms of just how efficient they are in the halfcourt. They are stingy on defense. … It's going to be a very difficult game for us to say the least.

"We'll see," Painter said. "We have to find the right mix of guys, especially to start the game. We can't let them get going, especially with their experience."

Starting role

Purdue will likely have the same starting five for its opener as it did in its two exhibition games.

The Boilermakers went with forwards Sandi Marcius, Donnie Hale and D.J. Byrd and guards Terone Johnson and Ronnie Johnson.

"We had a real good start the first game (a 70-61 win against Montevallo) with the group we started and the second game (against Newberry) we didn't," Painter said. "The group played really well together in the second half."

Purdue defeated Newberry 109-68.