Johnson, Moore lead No. 5 Purdue past Valpo 86-62

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP)—Valparaiso coach Homer Drew offered mock praise after the Crusaders were blown out at Purdue.

“Thank you for staying the entire game after they started raining 3s on us,” he said.

The fifth-ranked Boilermakers made 10 of 22 3-point attempts to beat Valparaiso 86-62 on Wednesday night.

Purdue has built a reputation for playing tough man-to-man defense under coach Matt Painter, but the Boilermakers are also showing they have a high-scoring, efficient offense. Perhaps the Boilermakers’ most impressive statistic was their 20 assists on 29 field goals.

JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore each scored 19 points. Moore tied a career high with five 3-pointers for the Boilermakers (8-0), who are off to their best start since the 1993-94 season.

“I wouldn’t say we’re in a comfort zone, but we’re confident,” Painter said. “When you get comfortable, you get beat, That’s why you have to keep players on edge.”

Purdue’s Robbie Hummel went 3 for 3 from 3-point range and scored 15 points after shooting 21 percent from behind the arc over the first seven games. Keaton Grant scored 10 points and Chris Kramer had seven assists and three steals for the Boilermakers.

Purdue seems to have left its early shooting woes behind. The Boilermakers shot 53 percent, their second straight game of better than 50 percent shooting.

“We just started making shots,” Hummel said. “We haven’t really been doing anything different.”

The Boilermakers certainly haven’t done anything different on defense. Purdue held the Crusaders to 42 percent shooting and forced 18 turnovers. The Boilermakers entered the game ninth nationally with 20 turnovers forced per game.

“This has been our worst performance,” Drew said. “It goes to show you how well their defense plays.”

Brandon Wood had 21 points and nine rebounds, and Cory Johnson had 11 points for Valparaiso (3-6).

It was Purdue’s final warmup before playing at Alabama on Saturday. Painter was pleased with the way his team handled the Crusaders, considering the fact that their next game will be against a marquee opponent.

“It shows the maturity of our team,” he said. “They’ve come out ready to play every single night.”

Johnson scored nine quick points, and Purdue made nine of its first 11 shots to take a 22-3 lead.

Kramer had the highlight of the first half, banking in a layup while falling forward to the floor as Tommy Kurth tried to draw a charge. Kramer made the free throw after the foul to give the Boilermakers a 30-8 lead.

The Crusaders didn’t grab a rebound for more than eight minutes to start the game.

One game after Purdue made 11 of 16 from 3-point land in the second half against Buffalo, the Boilermakers made 7 of 11 in the first half against Valparaiso to take a 47-25 lead at the break. Purdue shot 59 percent overall in the opening 20 minutes.

“I think a lot of it is confidence,” Painter said. “The last half of the Buffalo game, it carried over to this game.

Moore made 5 of 5 from long range and scored 17 points in the first half.

“I guess that’s good,” he said. “I wish I could do that every night.”

Purdue’s starters made 22 of 39 shots and had 14 assists against three turnovers.

“I thought our starters were sharp and simply ready to play,” Painter said. “It’s good to see those guys get in a rhythm.”

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Valparaiso
Brandon Wood Brandon Wood
6-14,  21 Pts
9 Rebs, 1 Assists
 Purdue
E'Twaun Moore E'Twaun Moore
7-10,  19 Pts
1 Rebs, 3 Assists

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Rebounds
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Wednesday, Dec 9