WEST LAFAYETTE -- Sophomore center A.J. Hammons and redshirt freshman forward Jay Simpson had good days for Purdue in its 88-67 win against Boston College in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday at Mackey Arena.
But when you combine to two -- and coach Matt Painter often does because they sub for each other -- you get a dominant performance in the post for the Boilermakers (7-2).
Despite gaudy stats across the board, that might be the biggest reason Purdue was able to weather an early offensive clinic by the Eagles (3-5) and come up with a convincing win.
"You got to give credit to Jay and A.J., especially on the defensive end," said freshman guard Kendall Stephens, who had 11 first-half points in the win. "They did a great job of ball screen defense, hollering out, letting the people know that are into the ball what to do. They made the defense flow, they made Boston College work and they definitely boxed out.
"They came to play."
The key word is they.
Painter said one has been good and the other off, or in foul trouble, for most of Purdue's games thus far. Wednesday, both did their part, and it resulted in a superstar stat line between the two post players.
Hammons and Simpson combined for 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting, 16 rebounds, four blocks and four assists. They played a collective 37 minutes and stayed out of foul trouble much of the way.
Hammons, a 7-foot, 251-pounder, had three fouls by game's end. Simpson, his 6-9, 250-pound counterpart, had two.
"The one thing we were focused on was just putting two halves together," said senior guard Terone Johnson, who had a game-high 18 points for Purdue. "I thought tonight, we got out to a great start. Our big guys gave us energy. A.J. came off the bench and gave us a lot of energy, and we just carried that into the second half."