West Virginia hammered at Purdue
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) – Purdue coach Matt Painter was shocked by how well his team played Saturday. West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was far less surprised that his team played poorly.
D.J. Byrd scored 17 points to help Purdue defeat West Virginia 79-52.
Rapheal Davis added 16 points, Anthony Johnson 12 and Terone Johnson 11 for the Boilermakers (10-8), who won their third straight.
The Boilermakers led by 14 at halftime and extended their advantage to 32 with 9:29 remaining.
“I was surprised,” Painter said. “I thought we got off to a good start in the second half and were able to push that lead out.”
Eron Harris scored 10 points for West Virginia, which barely surpassed its season low of 50 points. Harris was the only Mountaineers player to reach double figures. The Mountaineers (8-9) have lost three straight and four of five.
“This is not what I’ve built a career on,” Huggins said. “We let them do what they want to do, throw it where they want to throw it, drive it where they want to drive it. We just do the most unexplainable things I’ve ever seen.”
Huggins questioned whether his players even knew how to play basketball. West Virginia shot just 29 percent from the field, and the Mountaineers had six assists and 17 turnovers.
“We turned it over 11 times in the first half,” Huggins said. “We generally turn it over 11 times in a game. And they were bad turnovers. They were turnovers that lead to baskets.”
It was the third consecutive opponent Purdue has held below 34 percent shooting. Penn State shot 26 percent Sunday in Purdue’s 60-42 win and Nebraska shot 33 percent as the Boilermakers prevailed 65-56 in Lincoln, Neb., on Wednesday night.
Purdue shot 49 percent from the field and outrebounded the Mountaineers 44-34.
Byrd, who struggled early this season, has caught fire lately. He is averaging 13.7 points during the win streak and has made 11 of 20 3-pointers.
“He feeds off of makes, so it’s really important for him to take good shots,” Painter said. “I just think he’s picking his spots. I think he’s doing a better job of being efficient offensively.”
The Boilermakers improved to 6-1 all-time against West Virginia. The win gave Purdue a 7-6 record in nonconference play.
Terone Johnson scored on a jumper to give Purdue an early 11-7 lead. Byrd’s 3-pointer pushed the advantage to 18-11 with just more than 8 minutes left in the first half. Another 3 by Byrd made it 21-13.
The Boilermakers extended their lead to 27-16 on a layup by Davis, and the advantage ballooned to 30-18 on another 3 by Byrd.
The Boilermakers led 37-23 at halftime after holding the Mountaineers to 8-of-30 shooting in the first half. Byrd led the way with 11 points on 3-for-5 3-point shooting.
A.J. Hammons opened the second half with a dunk that pushed Purdue’s lead to 17 in the opening minute.
Byrd made three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt to put the Boilermakers up 42-23, and a floater by Ronnie Johnson pushed the lead to 21.
West Virginia finally scored on a pair of free throws more than 3 minutes into the second half, but Davis answered with a 3-pointer to bump Purdue’s lead to 47-25.
Davis hit another 3 to make it 52-27, and the Boilermakers rolled from there.
Huggins said he didn’t know whether Purdue had improved since the games he studied because the Mountaineers played so poorly on Saturday. He gave Painter credit for having his team ready to play.
“Matt does a great job,” he said. “They’re going to guard you. They’re going to do the right things. They’re going to play the game the way the game is supposed to be played.”
Huggins said he wished he had some of those well-coached players on his team.
“Just give me seven or eight,” he said. “I don’t care which seven or eight, but seven or eight guys that will digest the scouting report and that will do what they are asked to do, that will pass the ball.”