GAME NOTES: The Purdue Boilermakers put their perfect home record on the line, as they entertain the Hawks of Maryland-Eastern Shore at Mackey Arena on Tuesday night.
UMES has disappointed this season, losing five of its first seven games. The team is mired in a three-game slide at the moment, with its most recent outing resulting in a 98-66 setback at Oregon State on Sunday. This bout represents not only the first all-time meeting between the Hawks and Boilermakers, but the finale in the former's current four-game road trip. Following this contest, UMES will return home for a pair, before heading back out on the road for four more.
Purdue is 8-3 on the season, with seven of those victories coming in front of the hometown faithful. The Boilermakers recently had a three-game win streak stopped by the Butler Bulldogs in Indianapolis this past Saturday, 76-70, and the team will play one more non-conference game (at West Virginia this Sunday in its first true road game of the season) before opening Big Ten Conference play at home against Ohio State on New Year's Eve.
Despite boasting two solid scorers in Hakeem Baxter (16.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and KyRee Jones (16.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg), the Hawks have had difficulty keeping up with the opposition on the scoreboard, netting just 67.7 ppg while allowing 76.7 ppg. Poor shooting has done the team in time and time again, as it is hitting a mere 38.5 percent of its field goal attempts, with only 30.3 percent of its 3-point tries finding the bottom of the net. Conversely, the opposition is making good on 46.3 percent of their total shots, which includes a 36.1 percent showing from beyond the arc. Jones came off bench to nail 5-of-8 3- point tries on his way to 21 points, but that effort went for naught as UMES suffered a 32-point loss at Oregon State the last time out. The Hawks shot a dismal 33.8 percent from the floor overall, actually performing better from long range (.409). Unfortunately for them, the Beavers made good on 51.5 percent of their field goal attempts, claimed a 20-13 edge in points from the foul line, while also winning the battle on the boards by a 45-38 margin.
Riding the coattails of three double-digit scorers, Purdue has done a solid job of putting points on the board this season, averaging 78.8 ppg behind typical shooting outputs of .454 overall and .339 from 3-point land. Terone Johnson (13.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg), Ronnie Johnson (11.3 ppg, 3.7 apg) and Bryson Scott (10.6 ppg, 15 steals) have all performed well for coach Matt Painter's club, and the team's defensive effort has helped as it goads the opposition into nearly 15 turnovers per outing, while holding them to 41.3 percent accuracy from the floor. Terone Johnson hit for 20 points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out four assists, but was guilty of six of the team's 18 turnovers in the game, as Purdue lost to Butler on Saturday. Scott added 13 points and A.J. Hammons chipped in 10 for the Boilermakers, who missed 10 of their 14 3-point tries and had an 18-10 deficit in points from the foul line. Purdue's reserves outscored Butler's 34-9, but the Bulldogs turned the Boilermakers' miscues into 25 points.
Purdue is clearly the better team in this matchup, and it shouldn't take long for the Boilermakers to establish their dominance in what should be another comfortable home win.
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