It doesn’t matter if he’s coming off the bench or in the starting lineup, Purdue’s E’Twaun Moore has been hard to stop through two games this season.
The sophomore looks for another strong effort while trying to help the No. 11 Boilermakers to a third straight victory over visiting Loyola of Chicago on Tuesday night in the second round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Moore had 17 points, five rebounds and four assists, while fellow preseason All-Big Ten selection Robbie Hummel scored 18 points as top-seeded Purdue (2-0) overcame a sluggish start in an 87-58 win over Eastern Michigan on Monday.
The Boilermakers advanced to face Loyola (1-1), which upset sixth-seeded Georgia 74-53 in the night’s other contest at Mackey Arena. That could mean another big night for Moore, who had 18 points while shooting 7-for-9 from the floor in Purdue’s 84-53 victory over the Ramblers last November.
Purdue is 8-3 all-time against Loyola, including a 5-1 mark at Mackey.
“It’s a quick turnaround, a quick scout, so it’s a matter of getting guys focused,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “You don’t have time to practice on a game day, so you’re watching film and basically you just have to go out and play.”
As his strong effort against Eastern Michigan followed an 18-point performance in a season-opening victory over Detroit Mercy on Friday, the 6-foot-4 Moore should remain a starter with highly-touted freshman point guard Lewis Jackson coming off the bench.
“I think (Moore’s) done a good job for us, and when he lets things come to him, he’s very dangerous - not just as a scorer but as in a lot of areas,” Painter said.
Painter hopes his club is focused from the start of this contest after giving up the game’s first eight points against the Eagles. After some words with his team during an early timeout, the Boilermakers built a 20-point halftime lead, forced 22 turnovers and shot 48.5 percent for the game.
“Once Coach called time out and we got back out there, I felt we brought another level to the game,” Purdue reserve Marcus Green said. “Coach said ‘We’ve got to have some energy,’ and we turned it around right there.”
Trying to win a 12th consecutive home game, Purdue will attempt to stop Loyola senior guard J.R. Blount, who followed a career-high 42-point effort in a loss to Division II Rockhurst on Friday with 16 points and seven assists against Georgia.
Blunt had 17 points in last season’s loss to the Boilermakers, and is averaging 12.7 points in three career games versus them.
Loyola, picked to finish eighth in the 10-team Horizon League, will face a ranked team other than conference rival Butler for the first time since losing 87-75 at then-No. 7 Ohio State on Nov. 11, 2006.
The winner of this contest will face either Boston College or St. John’s in the tournament semifinals Nov. 26 at Madison Square Garden.