Beating Purdue at Mackey Arena has been almost impossible for visiting teams since Matt Painter took over in West Lafayette, and it never happens during the season opener.
The Boilermakers improved to 7-0 in the first game of the season in the Painter-era with a 96-34 win over Northern Illinois. The victory extends Purdue’s home winning streak to 18-straight, which is tied for the third most in school history.
“We try to play the same way no matter what. No matter how much we are up or how much we are down and we just continued to do that” said Painter. “I thought our guys tonight, outside of a couple plays, really stayed within what we were trying to do on both ends of the court.”
If a season opener wasn’t enough of an incentive to get the Mackey fans energized, they had some extra juice because star forward Robbie Hummel played in his first regular season game in a year–and-a-half.
The former All-American led the way with 21 points, including five three pointers. He showed few signs of being bothered by any effects of tearing his ACL twice.
“I was just looking to get back out there, get kind of back into the flow of playing again,” said Hummel. “The guys did a good job of finding me when I was open.”
Hummel was the center piece of the win, but the Boilermakers started the 2011-2012 season with an impressive team effort.
Just as Matt Painter likes, Purdue used its defense as the catalyst.
“I thought our guys did a good job of pressuring the basketball. Obviously it starts with our point guard. I thought Lewis [Jackson] did a good job of really putting pressure on them,” he said. “For the most part I was pleased with our defense.”
Northern Illinois shot under 25-percent from the field in Mark Montgomery’s head coaching debut and turned the ball over 28 times compared to just nine Purdue turnovers.
“I thought the NBA was on strike,” joked Montgomery. “Purdue’s pressure defense definitely took us out of something of the things we are trying to do.”
Offensively, Purdue wasn’t perfect, but they were efficient. The Boilermakers drained 14-of-28 three-pointers and actually shot better from downtown (50%) than they did from the field (46%).
Kelsey Barlow scored 14 and Terone Johnson and Anthony Johnson each scored 12.
“I felt like the first [exhibition] game we really didn’t shoot it well at all, but we came around this game and got a lot of shots up and they went in,” said Terone Johnson.
Tim Toler was the only Husky in double-figures. He scored eleven all in the first half.
Purdue will host High Point, Monday.
Northern Illinois will go for its first win, Monday, on its home floor against Wisconsin-Milwaukee.