After one game, Purdue could already be in midseason form.
The No. 11 Boilermakers hope for another strong effort when they host Eastern Michigan in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Monday night.
Purdue couldn’t have played much better in an 82-50 home rout of Detroit Mercy on Friday night. E’Twaun Moore had 18 points off the bench, JaJuan Johnson posted a career-high 17 points and Robbie Hummel added 14 with nine rebounds as the Boilermakers set a school record by committing only three turnovers.
“Their sureness with the ball is incredible, regardless of the time of season,” Detroit coach Ray McCallum said. “It makes a statement on how skilled they are.”
Though the Boilermakers were slightly outrebounded, they led by as many as 34 points, forced 20 turnovers and held Detroit to 32.7 percent shooting.
“We are looking to take that next step,” said Purdue coach Matt Painter, whose team is the Big Ten preseason favorite after returning all five starters from a club that went 25-9 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament last season.
Moore, a second-team All-Big Ten selection last season when he averaged 12.9 points as a freshman, was 6 of 12 from the field in his new reserve role due to the emergence of freshman point guard Lewis Jackson.
Fellow sophomore Johnson, who averaged 5.4 points last season, shot 6-for-8 from the floor.
“I’m just trying to find open spots,” Johnson said. “I know these guys will find me. These guys are unselfish.”
Now, the Boilermakers face Eastern Michigan for the first time since posting a 94-84 win Dec. 4, 1971, in the teams initial meeting. Purdue is the No. 1 seed in the annual early-season tournament that concludes Nov. 28 at Madison Square Garden. The winner of this contest plays either Georgia or Loyola of Chicago on Tuesday night in West Lafayette.
“I think our guys are really looking forward to that, but I think when you have a lot of hype about your team, you have to keep your focus on Eastern Michigan,” Painter said. “That’s all we worry about. If you keep it as simple as that, it’s easier for guys to keep their focus and play hard.”
Despite losing honorable mention All-Mid-American Conference guard Carlos Medlock for the season with a broken foot, Eastern Michigan rolled to a 119-48 season-opening win over Marygrove College on Friday.
“Any time you lose your floor general and leading scorer, it hurts, but we have young men that now get an opportunity to fill the void and grow in our program,” EMU coach Charles E. Ramsey said.
Redshirt sophomore Brandon Bowdry had a career highs with 26 points and 14 rebounds, while freshman Branden Harrison added 21 points for the Eagles, who shot 55.3 percent.
Eastern Michigan, picked to finish second in the MAC’s West Division after going 14-17 last season, looks to avoid a seventh consecutive loss versus Top 25 opponents dating to an 89-83 overtime win at then-No. 21 Michigan on Dec. 17, 1997.