GAME NOTES: The Old Spice Classic continues on Friday morning with the consolation round, as the Purdue Boilermakers and the Washington State Cougars clash at HP Field House.
Prior to beginning tournament play, Purdue had won all five of its games during its season-opening homestand, but it was in for a rude awakening in the opening round against No. 5 Oklahoma State. The Boilermakers faced a 23- point halftime deficit, and while they deserve credit for fighting until the end they could not pull off the comeback as they fell short, 97-87.
Washington State's season opened up rather promising with back-to-back wins over Cal State Bakersfield (62-56) and Lamar (84-64), but since then it has dropped three consecutive bouts. The Cougars played Butler in the opening round, and although they held a lead with under three minutes to play, they lost control down the stretch en route to a 76-69 setback.
Purdue has won all three previous meetings with Washington State, although the teams haven't met since 1964.
The winner will take on either Siena or Saint Joseph's in the fifth-place game on Sunday. The losers with clash in the seventh-place bout.
The Boilermakers had a modest shooting day overall in the opening round (.426), but they were able to climb back in the game thanks to a stellar 10- of-20 showing from 3-point range. They were ultimately done in by foul trouble, however, as 31 personal fouls led to a 33-of-44 afternoon from the free-throw line for OSU. Bryson Scott led the charge with 18 points in just 18 minutes off the bench. Errick Peck scored 12 points, while Terone Johnson, Ronnie Johnson and Kendall Stephens each contributed 10 points in the losing effort. The impressive scoring output was nothing new for Purdue, as it scores 86.3 points per game on the season on greater than 47 percent from the field, but its lackluster effort at the other end of the floor against the potent Cowboys allowed its scoring defense to shoot up to 75.6 points per game. In addition to acting as the top scorer, Ronnie Johnson (13.2 ppg) has also handed out 27 assists paired against 12 turnovers. Terone Johnson (12.5 ppg), Scott (11.8 ppg) and A.J. Hammons (8.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.8 bpg) are also off to strong starts.
Despite shooting 50 percent from the field and winning the rebounding battle (33-27) in Thursday's opening round, the Cougars shot just 5-of-20 from 3- point range and made only 14-of-22 free-throw attempts as they dropped a close contest. DaVonte Lacy was a one-man wrecking crew in the setback, shooting 7-of-12 from the floor and 8-of-8 from the stripe for 26 points. Que Johnson was the only other play in double figures, netting 11 points in a reserve role. On the season, Washington State has a modest scoring offense, pouring in 70.2 points per game, just about the same as it allows (70.0). Lacy acts as the unrivaled top scoring option, as he averages 21.6 points per game while shooting greater than 86 percent from the foul line. Ike Iroegbu chips in 11.0 points per game, but the Cougars can't count on much consistency elsewhere.
Purdue played well on Thursday against one of the nation's top teams, while Washington State has failed to impress against quality competition this season. Expect the Boilermakers solid all-around output to be enough to dismiss the Cougars.
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