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January 12, 2014

Boilers save best efforts for last to beat Nebraska

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue still has some work to do, but the Boilermaker’s win over Nebraska was a start in the right direction.

Things didn’t come together for the Boilermakers until late in the game. Ronnie Johnson scored two free throws with 5:45 remaining to give Purdue the lead, and the Boilermakers held on for a 70-64 win over the Cornhuskers on Sunday.

“I always talk about as a player and as a team, it’s effort and results,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “I didn’t like the results until the end. I thought we played our best basketball at the end of the game.”

Johnson’s go ahead free throws sparked a 7-0 run and the Boilermakers (11-5, 1-2 Big Ten) never looked back.

A.J. Hammons, who led Purdue with 18 points, scored and Sterling Carter made a lay-up, before Johnson split from the line to give the Boilers a 64-58 lead with 2:17 left to play.

Hammons put the game out of reach by making two free throws with 42 seconds remaining.

Johnson added 14 points for the Boilermakers, who picked up their first league win. Purdue made 24 of 52 shots, including 5 of 13 shots from behind the arc.

The Boilermakers never led by more than eight points and that came with under a minute to play when Carter scored two free throws to give Purdue a 68-60 lead.

In the first half, they never led by more than five. But the Boilermakers found their groove just in time.

And now that the Boilermakers found a league win, Painter hopes some of the wins will start coming, too. But it won’t be easy. They go to Illinois on Wednesday, host Penn State Saturday and then go to Northwestern three days later.

“Now our practices are done,” Painter said. “We have four games in 10 days. It’s not as much getting into practice, I think really what our thing is that effort — getting the 50-50 balls, preparing for an opponent, understanding what you have to do and getting the younger guys mentally ready to play a game.”

NEBRASKA (64) — Petteway 7-17 4-5 19, Shields 1-5 3-7 5, Pitchford 2-7 0-0 5, Webster 2-6 1-2 5, Gallegos 4-7 0-0 10, Biggs 4-11 2-2 10, Parker 0-0 2-2 2, Smith 4-5 0-0 8. Totals 24-58 12-18 64.

PURDUE (70) — Smotherman 1-3 0-0 2, Hammons 6-9 6-7 18, T.Johnson 2-6 0-2 4,  R.Johnson 5-7 4-10 14, Davis 1-2 2-3 4, Carter 2-4 3-4 8, Scott 0-5 0-0 0, Stephens 2-4 2-2 8, Simpson 3-7 0-0 7, Peck 1-3 0-0 3,  Carroll 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 24-52 17-28 70.

Halftime—Purdue 35-32. 3-Point Goals—Nebraska 4-16 (Gallegos 2-5,  Pitchford 1-4, Petteway 1-6, Biggs 0-1), Purdue 5-13 (Stephens 2-3,  Simpson 1-1, Peck 1-2, Carter 1-3, Carroll 0-1, T.Johnson 0-3). Fouled  Out—Biggs. Rebounds—Nebraska 34 (Petteway, Shields 9), Purdue 38 (Carter  7). Assists—Nebraska 12 (Biggs, Gallegos, Petteway, Pitchford, Smith 2),  Purdue 15 (Davis 3). Total Fouls—Nebraska 19, Purdue 15. A—9,182.


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