INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Central Michigan coach Jay Smith has Oklahoma to thank for the drubbing his team received Saturday from Purdue.
The 16th-ranked Boilermakers came to Conseco Fieldhouse fired up after a demoralizing, last-second loss at No. 11 Oklahoma on Thursday, and they completely overwhelmed the Chippewas from start to finish in an 80-39 win.
“Losing to Oklahoma had us ready to play,” Purdue guard Kenneth Lowe said.
The Boilermakers (7-1) were dominant in every phase of the game, especially defensively, where they contested nearly every shot by the Chippewas (2-5), forcing them into 22-percent shooting.
“They manhandled us,” Smith said.
Brandon McKnight tied a career high with 13 points and had five assists, setting the tone early with his aggressiveness on both ends of the floor.
“They didn’t expect me to come out and be as aggressive defensively,” he said. “I’m at the top of our defense, so it starts with me and goes from there.”
He had plenty of motivation. The Sooners’ Drew Lavender hit a runner over McKnight with 1.1 seconds to play to beat Purdue on Thursday.
“I couldn’t sleep at all,” McKnight said. “Seeing that shot go in just kept playing over and over in my head.”
McKnight said the Boilermakers were more focused because of the loss, and they took their frustrations out on Central Michigan.
Lowe added 13 points for the bigger, stronger Boilermakers, who outrebounded the Chippewas 47-28.
Central Michigan, which is mourning the loss of walk-on Brent Edwards, who died in a car accident on Nov. 25, was eyeing its second upset of a top-25 team in a week. The Chippewas defeated then-No. 23 Notre Dame on Dec. 6.
They never had a chance against Purdue.
The Boilermakers suffocated Central Michigan on the defensive end from the opening tip, holding the Chippewas to five points and 10-percent shooting through the first 16 minutes.
“I’m really proud of our kids with our defensive intensity,” Purdue coach Gene Keady said.
McKnight led the way, scoring nine points on 4-of-4 shooting while Purdue took a 23-5 lead.
“Purdue was ready to play and we weren’t,” Smith said. “They came out and played aggressive. This game will help us get better.”
Brandon Voorhees had 11 points for the Chippewas, while Gerrit Brigitha had nine.
Central Michigan had scoring droughts of nine and six minutes in the first half en route to falling behind 32-12.
“Everybody on this team wants to play defense,” Lowe said. “That helps a lot.”
Purdue was just as impressive on the offensive end, using a balanced attack to pick apart Central Michigan. Six Boilermakers made at least three field goals.
“This game, we were a lot more focused,” Lowe said. “You can’t afford to dwell on a loss like (Thursday). If you do that, this team could have came out and beat us.”
The Boilermakers used a 21-0 run to take a 59-16 lead midway through the second half to make sure that didn’t happen, turning most of the second half into garbage time.
Ivan Kartelo led the Boilermakers with 11 rebounds and David Teague added a career-high eight.
The Chippewas flirted with the modern-era scoring low—21 by Georgia Southern against Coastal Carolina on Jan. 2, 1997—before picking up the scoring pace over the last nine minutes.
They scored nearly half their points from the free throw line on 10-of-20 shooting, while they were 11-of-50 from the field.
“They take away cuts and bump you,” Smith said. “They’re just a much more physical team.”