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January 19, 2013

Purdue embarrasses West Virginia, 79-52

It was a day of struggles for the West Virginia Mountaineers Saturday at Purdue. After losing two straight heartbreakers to Big 12 foes, the Mountaineers to a break from conference play, with little success.

Unable to stop the hot-shooting Boilermakers or end a season-long struggle with shooting, the Mountaineers walked out of West Lafayette, Ind. with an embarrassing 79-52 loss.

In an continued effort to find a suitable rotation, Head Coach Bob Huggins introduced another wrinkle into the starting lineup against the Boilermakers. After playing only nine total minutes in the past month, Senior Matt Humphrey found his way into the starting lineup after a solid performance earlier in the week against Iowa State.

And it would not take long for Humphrey's impact to be felt. Despite two early fouls, the senior transfer from Boston College opened up the game for the Mountaineers with a three, coming off a high ball screen to find an open look.
After taking nearly 30 minutes on Wednesday to hit their first three, the Mountaineers got on the board from beyond the arc after only 2:30 of play to take a quick 3-0 lead.

But Purdue would rally back, forcing a handful of West Virginia turnovers and forcing the Mountaineers into bad shots, while streaking out to an early 6-3 lead at the first media timeout. The Boilermaker's early rally was aided by poor West Virginia shooting, going 1-8 from the field to open up the first four minutes.

The deficit would be short-lived for the Mountaineers, thanks to the shooting efforts of Aaron Brown. Out of the timeout, the sophomore, who has only seen action in eight games this season, would hit a three from the top of the key to tie the game at six.

It would be a sloppy series of possession for both the Mountaineers and Boilermakers heading into the second media timeout, with both teams exchanging as many turnovers as points. The Boilermakers took further advantage of a poor 2-12 West Virginia shooting performance to take an 11-7 lead at the 12:00 mark.

The Mountaineers would finally take advantage of their poor shooting on the offensive glass, with Deniz Kilicli grabbing an off-target Juwan Staten jumper and going up strong for two. The layup was the Mountaineer's first two-point basket of the game, closing the deficit to two - 11-9 - with 11 minutes remaining in the half.

After starting out sluggishly from the field, the Boilermakers finally found their range with help from guard D. J. Byrd. The senior, who leads Purdue in three-point field goals, nailed a pair of outside shots to spark a Boilermaker's run.

A trio of Staten jumpers from mid-range would help to alleviate the pain on the scoreboard, but a hot-shooting Boilermaker squad would continue to answer every West Virginia shot, and then some, to carry a 23-15 lead into the media timeout.

From there, it would be all Purdue for the remainder of the half. The Boilermakers continued to look for easy baskets in the lane and outside, improving a rocky early shooting performance to a 47 percent showing from the field at half.
The Mountaineers did little to halt the Boilermaker's success, shooting themselves in the foot consistently with turnovers - including three double-dribble calls with a two-minute span - and poor shooting.

Purdue to continue to take advantage of a porous West Virginia interior defense, scoring 26 points in the half from either the paint or free throw line, en route to a 37-23 halftime lead.

It would be much of the same to start out the second half, with the Boilermakers going on a 15-4 run in the first four minutes of the half to take their largest lead of the game, 52-27.

The Mountaineers tried a number of lineups and sets to no avail, going 0-8 from the field in the first five minutes of the half, with a couple turnovers to boot. Four free throws from Eron Harris and Jabarie Hinds provided the Mountaineer's their only point in opening span.

Mountaineer fans also saw Volodymyr Gerun in only his second performance of the season. The big man from Ukraine first appeared in the closing seconds of the first half, but didn't make an impact until the second half, adding a quick rebound and monster block to his box score.

But the efforts of Gerun would not be enough to keep the Mountaineers in the game. In an almost unimaginable performance, the Boilermakers would strike on an uninspired Mountaineer squad. The Boilermakers were unrelenting, going 11-21 from the field, including 4-4 from three in the first 12 minutes of the half, pulling out to an almost insurmountable 68-36 lead over the Mountaineers.

Meanwhile, the struggles continued for the Mountaineers. While Purdue continued to strike on all cylinders, West Virginia struggled to even find the iron. At the under 8:00 media timeout, the Mountaineer's stat line read 24.5 percent from the field, 14.3 percent from three, 15 turnovers and only 36 points.

For the remainder of the game the Mountaineers would attempt to find life, with little success. A driving jumper by Hinds and three by Aaron Brown prompted what could have been a little spark of life prior to the final media timeout, but it would do little to thwart the hot-handed Boilermakers as time wound down.

Final score: Purdue 79, West Virginia 52.

The Mountaineers were led in scoring by Eron Harris, who's 10 points made him the only double-figure man of the day.

West Virginia returns to Morgantown Wednesday night to take on TCU. Tipoff is at 7:30pm.

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