Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Purdue Boilermakers "ready to go" for conference stretch run

Purdue isn’t about making excuses. The Boilermakers have been through too much over the past year to feel sorry for themselves. And they weren’t about to start after a disappointing 87-64 loss Tuesday at Ohio State.
Purdue bounced back Saturday with a 73-61 win over 16th-ranked Minnesota.

“Purdue’s always been known for playing hard. We are going to compete no matter what happens,” said guard Lewis Jackson. “That embarrassment that we took at [Ohio] State, we wanted to come back out here and show people we had a letdown, but when you come play Purdue you will see a competitive side.”

Jackson practices what he preaches. The junior guard was one of the sparks in the Boilermakers win over the Gophers.

He hit three triples that helped put the game out of reach. As good as he was offensively, Jackson’s defense on Minnesota’s sharp shooter Blake Hoffarber was even more impressive.

Lewis Jackson
“I knew I was a little bit strong and thought maybe I’d just bully him a little bit and try to get him off that three point line,” said Jackson. “It really worked to our favor.”

Hoffarber hit his season average of 14-points, but some of those came on late three’s that had little impact on the game.

That is the kind of effort Purdue senior JaJuan Johnson said makes him feel good about the mental toughness of the 12th-ranked Boilermakers.

“Any time you lose a game like [Ohio State], or any game in general, it sits with you for awhile and you want to erase that feeling as quick as possible,” he said. “”We let one go against Ohio State, but we didn’t want to let this one go. We still want to win the Big Ten Championship and every game is important.”

The poster child for Purdue’s quick rebound may be Patrick Bade. The seldom used sophomore played garbage time in the loss to the Buckeyes, but gave the kind of effort head coach Matt Painter was looking for out of his team.

“He played eight minutes [against Ohio State] and got five rebounds. I thought he played hard,” said Painter. “We needed a physical presence in there. We needed someone to bang bodies. He earned that chance.”
Bade was rewarded with 20-minutes against the Gophers. His numbers (2-points, 3-rebounds, and one-assist) didn’t jump off the page, but his teammates fed off his energy.

Pat Bade
“I’m like a proud father today,” joked Johnson. “I’m really happy for Pat. He did a really great job.”
Bade admits the lack of consistent playing time has been a challenge, but he’s stayed committed to helping his team in anyway he can.

“The coaches always say be ready. My number was called and I was ready to go,” he said.

It appears that every Boilermaker is now adopting the whenever, wherever mentality.

And the next time they get a shot at top-ranked Ohio State it could be for the Big Ten title. Recent history indicates, they will be ready.

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