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Johnson's career-high leads Purdue past Texas Southern

Monday, December 17, 2007


AP Sports Writer

WEST LAFAYETTE -- Texas Southern coach Robert Moreland drew two positives from his team's trip to Purdue, and neither was related to how his team played.

"It's good for our kids to get an opportunity to see some snow, and of course play a good basketball team at the same time," he said.

The Boilermakers left Moreland with nothing else good to say about his squad in Purdue's 76-56 win Monday night in the opening game of the Las Vegas Classic.

JaJuan Johnson led the Boilermakers with 14 points, the highest total of his young career. The 6-foot-10 freshman center shot 6 for 9 from the field and had five rebounds, taking advantage of a team whose tallest player is 6-7.

"It was a good game for him on the offensive end," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "He got the ball in position, he didn't dribble the basketball. When you're playing four or five perimeter guys, you can't dribble the basketball in the post, you've got to turn around and make a play. I thought he did a good job of doing that."

Scott Martin and Keaton Grant scored 11 points each, and Marcus Green had five points and a career-high 10 rebounds for Purdue (7-2). The Boilermakers outrebounded the Tigers 52-26.

Painter was pleased with Green's effort. He said the junior guard is starting to find a niche by making the kind of hustle plays his teammate, guard Chris Kramer, is known for.

"It looked like he was trying to box out Kramer a couple of times," Painter said. "He's been around long enough to know that that's a good way to get minutes with me."

Sollie Norwood led Texas Southern (1-8) with 16 points, but the Tigers shot just 36 percent from the field in their eighth consecutive loss. Texas Southern made 8 of 30 3-pointers.

Purdue, coming off a win over No. 22 Louisville in the Wooden Tradition on Saturday, led Texas Southern 16-15 midway through the first half before finishing it on a 16-4 run to take a 32-19 lead. The Boilermakers outrebounded the Tigers 25-14 before the break.

Purdue shot just 32 percent in the first half. E'Twaun Moore, a freshman guard who finished with 10 points and four assists, said the team wasn't worried.

"We got some open shots in the first half, we just didn't finish," he said. "You've just got to keep taking them, and they'll eventually fall."

Moreland said Purdue played well, but his Tigers helped the Boilermakers at the end of the first half by missing shots and turning the ball over.

"I think it was more us," he said. "We've had a tendency to do that type of thing this year. We're one or two ballplayers away from being competitive."

Purdue shot 58 percent in the second half to pull away. The Boilermakers' biggest lead was 26 points.

Texas Southern shot 19 3-pointers in the second half while trying to come back, and made six. Painter said the plan was to force the Tigers to shoot from the perimeter.

"They were going to try to shorten the game a little bit, try to beat us off the dribble, so we kept our guys inside so we could give help," Painter said. "We tried to keep them in front of us and make them shoot over us."

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