WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue coach Matt Painter says he’s been surprised this season by the number of turnovers his players have made and that they’ve been outrebounded by opponents.
“Anytime you can play well in spurts, we’ve had games and segments where we’ve played well,” Painter said. “But we haven’t been able to finish things. We’ll play really well for an eight-minute stretch and then for four or five minutes, it’s not just that we play OK, we’re bad.”
For at least the second half of Wednesday night’s game, the Boilermakers (2-3) transformed and beat UNC Wilmington 66-40 to end a two-game skid.
Terone Johnson scored a season-high 19 points, including three 3-pointers, to help Purdue, who outrebounded the Seahawks (1-3) 40-24 and held them to just five offensive boards.
“I think as a team we were more patient,” Terone Johnson said. “It opened shots up for a lot of us. The shots we’ve been taking those first couple of games was kind of forced shots and tonight they were more open shots and taken within the offense.”
DJ Byrd and Travis Carroll each scored 10 points for the Boilermakers.
Keith Rendleman had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Seahawks (1-3), who have lost three straight.
Terone Johnson, who scored 10 points in the first half, hit a 3-pointer at the end of the half to give Purdue a 29-28 lead at halftime.
The Boilermakers (2-3), who held the Seahawks to just 12 points in the second half, went on an 18-3 run in the second half.
“I thought he did a good job of being aggressive and also picking his spots,” Painter said. “I thought he took better shots tonight than he did in New York (2K Sports Classic). I thought he got into a good rhythm and he made better decisions.”
Things have been different for the Boilermakers this season. They’re young and there are just two seniors on the roster, with Byrd being the only of the two with significant minutes.
At this point a year ago, the Boilermakers were 4-1, with star player Robbie Hummel leading the team.
The Boilermakers, who held the Seahawks to just 12 points in the second half, went on an 18-3 run in the second half.
Byrd scored two free throws after a flagrant foul was called on the Seahawks’ Tyree Graham. Terone Johnson hit a trey and Anthony Johnson was fouled on a shot and hit the extra free throw to make it 36-30.
Carroll scored on a put-back and Byrd scored two free throws before Ronnie Johnson scored on a shot next to the basket to make it 42-30.
But before the Boilermakers began their run, the Seahawks regained the lead. After Jacob Lawson was called for a flagrant foul, Tanner Milson scored two free throws to give the Seahawks a 30-29 lead at 19:07 remaining. They would not lead again.
The Seahawks didn’t score their first field goal in the second half until the 9:34 mark, a major frustration for coach Buzz Peterson.
“Some of the missed shots, it was in and out a lot,” Peterson said. “We had a couple of missed assignments on some screening situations that hurt us.”
The Boilermakers carry a home win on the road to face the Clemson Tigers in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 28. Purdue has won three straight Challenge games, but are 1-3 all-time against the Tigers.
Their finish Wednesday gives the Boilermakers some momentum.
“It was very important,” Terone Johnson said. “It was very important to gain the confidence, but also to learn from it as well.”