LU Men's Basketball falls to Purdue 72-39
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Pat Knight’s return to his home state of Indiana didn’t go as well as he would have hoped Tuesday evening as his Lamar University men’s basketball team fell 72-39 at Purdue.
The Cardinals fell to 1-7 with the loss after struggling to shoot just 30.4 percent from the floor in the game. Knight, who grew up in Bloomington and played collegiately for his father Bob Knight at Indiana, was making his head coaching debut in the Hoosier State.
“I wanted to come home,” said the younger Knight about playing in Indiana. “The crowds were unbelievable and playing in front of them makes us mentally stronger. Plus, I like the physical play that we’ll experience against Big 10 teams. We’ll try to come up here every year.”
Lamar trailed 36-17 at the half and could draw no closer after the break as second half turnovers plagued the Cardinals. After coughing the ball up just five times in the first half, the Cardinals committed 11 in the second half and Purdue (4-4) turned the LU miscues into a 19-11 advantage in points off turnovers.
The other major problem area for the Cardinals came on the backboards where the bigger, more physical Boilermakers were able to enjoy a 50-31 rebound advantage. Purdue grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and converted them into 18 second chance points.
“They have the size and they have the strength,” said Knight about Purdue’s rebounding. “They have all five guys going after it, especially the guards. They really go after the boards and they turned them into extra baskets against us.”
Lamar battled early in the game and held an early lead at 4-3 on an Amos Wilson layup that came with 17:51 to play in the first half. Purdue then held the Cards to just four points over the ensuing seven minutes and 18 seconds in building a 19-8 advantage.
Freshman Keilan Blanks hit a jumper to draw the Cardinals to within nine points at 19-10 with 10:33 to play, but the Cards would get no closer the rest of the way. Blanks, who finished with seven points and three assists off the bench, hit a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to pull Lamar within 19.
The Cardinals did have a 7-0 run midway through the second half. Trailing 52-21 with 11:47 to play, LU’s Matt Hancock hit a corner 3-pointer and Stan Brown and Blanks followed with layups to pull the Cards to within 24.
Purdue’s Dru Antrhop stopped the run with a 3-pointer at the 9:08 mark to push the lead back to 27 points. It would not drop below that total the rest of the night.
Brown had his second straight strong effort for the Cardinals, matching the career-high of 14 points he set one week ago at Alabama. The senior forward led all players with nine rebounds and was 6-of-8 from the field. The rest of the Cardinals combined to shoot just 11-of-48.
Leading scorer Rhon Mitchell came into the game averaging just under 11 points per game for the Cardinals, but managed just two points on 1-of-6 shooting. Senior Donley Minor also managed just two points as he finished 1-of-13 from the floor.
Freshman guard Donnell Minton, who is from Indianapolis, handed out four of Lamar’s 12 assists in the contest. Sophomore forward Sebastian Norman added a career-high four blocked shots as Lamar finished with six as a team.
Junior guard Terone Johnson led all players with 16 points, adding a team-high seven rebounds for the Boilermakers. Freshman center A.J. Hammons added 13 points and Anthony Johnson chipped in with 11.
Purdue shot 45.2 percent from the floor in the game, including 4-of-11 aim from 3-point range. The Boilermakers were just 12-of-21 (57.1 percent) from the free throw line.