After a less than stellar season debut at home, E’Twaun Moore found his groove in paradise for Purdue.
Moore will try to carry over the momentum from an outstanding tournament for the No. 6 Boilermakers when they begin a four-game homestand Saturday against Central Michigan.
Purdue (4-0) is expecting a big season from Moore, who averaged a team-high 13.8 points in 2008-09. He did not start the new campaign strong with nine points on 4-of-10 shooting Nov. 13 in an 89-64 win over Cal State Northridge.
The 6-foot-4 junior guard fared much better last weekend in the Paradise Jam, averaging 18.3 points on 48.9 percent shooting in three games as the Boilermakers captured the title. Moore scored 22 in Monday’s 73-72 victory over No. 9 Tennessee in the championship game.
“E’Twaun got into a nice rhythm early,” said coach Matt Painter, whose team is trying to start 5-0 for the second straight season. “He made a couple of big shots, and he stayed really aggressive.”
Moore became the first Boilermaker to earn MVP honors in an in-season tournament since Kenneth Lowe accomplished the feat in the 2003 Great Alaska Shootout. Moore also became the 43rd player in school history to score 1,000 points.
Robbie Hummel added 20 points in Monday’s win, which wasn’t decided until Tennessee’s Wayne Chism missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
“That was a great college basketball game right there,” Painter said. “We were very fortunate to pull that out.”
Hummel was also named to the all-tournament team with a 14.3 scoring average despite making 2 of 13 3-pointers.
Purdue has played excellent defense during its unbeaten start, forcing an average of 20.5 turnovers. The Boilermakers forced 16 against the Volunteers, and their opponents have a turnover-to-assist ratio of 2.3.
Those kind of results could be duplicated against Central Michigan (2-3), which has 51 assists and 72 turnovers.
The Chippewas are trying to avoid a winless three-game road stretch after falling 69-53 to Wright State on Tuesday. Jordan Bitzer had 16 points and matched a career high with 10 rebounds.
Central Michigan is shooting 32.4 percent in two road games and will be going up against a defense that limits opponents to 39.7 percent.
The Chippewas have been picked to win the West Division of the Mid-American Conference after going 12-19 a season ago and finishing in a three-way tie for first with a 7-9 conference mark.
Purdue leads the all-time series 5-1, winning 80-39 in the last meeting Dec. 13, 2003 in Indianapolis.
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