Purdue has managed to replace Robbie Hummel’s offensive production so far, but the Boilermakers appeared to miss another key player on the defensive end in their last game.
After a disappointing effort on defense, the No. 10 Boilermakers may have an easier time slowing down Austin Peay on Tuesday night in the second game of the Chicago Invitation Challenge.
While Purdue (3-0) has averaged 87.0 points in 2010-11 without Hummel, who’s out for the season, the Boilermakers are also without Chris Kramer, a two-time Big Ten defensive player of the year who graduated after last season.
The guard was a big reason Purdue ranked 30th in Division I in scoring defense in 2009-10, giving up 61.3 points per game.
The Boilermakers held their first two opponents to less than 50 points while limiting them to 26.7 percent shooting combined, but they weren’t nearly as good on defense Sunday. They let Oakland, Michigan hang around until pulling away late in an 82-67 victory.
The Grizzlies shot 53.6 percent in the first half and trailed by two early in the second before Purdue went on a 9-0 run. Oakland outrebounded the Boilermakers, winners of 21 straight against non-conference opponents, 33-30.
“We had some breakdowns and they made some shots and got going,” coach Matt Painter said. “Anytime you get into a competitive battle early in the year whether you win or lose I think it answers some questions about your team.”
Fortunately for Painter’s squad, JaJuan Johnson had 25 points and 11 rebounds while E’Twaun Moore scored a team-high 26 points, shooting 10 of 16 and 4 of 5 from 3-point range.
“It was a good test for us tonight,” said Moore, averaging a team-high 20.3 points. “We played well. … Well, we played OK. We’ve got a lot of room for improvement.”
The Boilermakers may find it easier to shut down Austin Peay (2-2), which has been held to 70 points or fewer in three games. They’ve lost their last two, falling 72-65 at Southern Illinois on Sunday.
TyShwan Edmondson scored 19 points and Anthony Campbell added 15, but the Salukis shot 51.8 percent and outrebounded the Governors 39-21.
“Southern Illinois just out-toughed us,” coach Dave Loos told the Salukis’ official website. “They beat us up really bad on the boards. This is the first of our four games that I have been disappointed in our effort defensively because they were just tougher than us.”
Austin Peay has limited three of its opponents to 72 points or fewer.
Edmondson, in his first season with Austin Peay after transferring from Midland College, is averaging a team-high 17.8 points and 4.8 rebounds.
The Governors have not played at home and won’t until Dec. 7. They have four more games away from Clarksville before that.
Purdue beat Austin Peay in 1994 in the teams’ only meeting.