VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP)—E’Twaun Moore has said he’d gladly fill Chris Kramer’s old role as Purdue’s lockdown perimeter defender.
For about 20 minutes on Tuesday, he appeared up to the task.
Valparaiso’s Brandon Wood dominated the first half, slicing and shooting his way to 18 points as the upstart Crusaders trailed the 19th-ranked Boilermakers by just two points at halftime. Moore responded by holding Wood without a field goal in the second half of Purdue’s 76-58 win.
“We needed to slow him down,” Moore said. “I’m like, ‘I’ll make someone else shoot it besides him.’ I just stayed with him and didn’t give him any open looks.”
Kramer was a two-time Big Ten defensive player of the year, and Painter said before the season that he was irreplaceable. But Painter was proud of Moore’s effort against Wood, the reigning Horizon League scoring champion.
“E’Twaun did a good job on him,” Painter said. “He (Wood) got the best of him in the first half and E’Twaun got the best of him in the second half.”
Moore dominated on offense in the second half too, scoring 14 of his 23 points after the break for the Boilermakers (8-1).
“We ran more motion and just tried to spread them and have good spacing, and really tried to utilize E’Twaun when he got one-on-one,” Painter said.
Wood finished with 20 points for Valparaiso (6-3).
JaJuan Johnson had 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, Kelsey Barlow scored 13 points and Lewis Jackson added 11 points, four assists and four steals for Purdue (8-1), which won its third straight.
Johnson also had six turnovers and struggled at times against Valparaiso’s double teams.
“They came right away,” Johnson said. “They really weren’t on their man too much, so as soon as I caught it, they were right there. They did a really good job and they caused me to turn the ball over a little bit today.”
It was Purdue’s first game without John Hart. The team’s No. 3 scorer is expected to miss at least a month with a stress fracture in his right foot.
Purdue led 30-28 at halftime before shooting 57 percent from the field after the break.
Wood made 7 of 11 shots from the field, but his teammates made just 13 of 41. The Crusaders had averaged 76 points per game, but they shot 39 percent had committed 16 turnovers on Tuesday.
Purdue’s last loss to its intrastate rival had come in 1965, but the Boilermakers struggled early.
Wood’s 3-pointer with 5 minutes left in the first half gave the Crusaders a 25-23 lead and got the capacity crowd into a frenzy.
Purdue hung tough, and a bank shot by Johnson gave the Boilermakers a two-point lead at halftime. The preseason All-American had five points, four rebounds and four turnovers at the break.
Wood made his first seven shots, but Purdue’s run to close the half hurt Valparaiso.
“Brandon kept us in the game, but their 6-0 run at the end of the half hurt us,” Valparaiso coach Homer Drew said. “We needed to keep that lead heading into halftime to have some momentum.”
Moore hit a 3-pointer from the right wing, then made a jumper from inside the arc to give the Boilermakers a 38-34 lead three minutes into the second half. A 3-pointer by Ryne Smith put the finishing touch on an 8-0 run.
Valparaiso closed within four before the Boilermakers began pulling away. Moore tipped in his own miss to put the Boilermakers up 53-40, and Purdue led by double digits the rest of the way.
“In the second half we came out, but that defense of theirs kept us from going on a run, and we would make turnovers that were very costly to us,” Drew said.