Purdue’s lineup change pays off in 95-67 rout of Ohio

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              Ohio guard Connor Murrell (10) moves to the lane as Purdue forward Grady Eifert (24) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind., Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Matt Painter sensed Purdue needed a change Thursday.

So he inserted Evan Boudreaux into the starting lineup, watched Carsen Edwards and Ryan Cline drive to the basket and saw a completely different team.

Edwards scored 30 points and Cline added 19 as the Boilermakers finally broke out of their offensive funk and ran away from Ohio 95-67 for their most lopsided victory this season.

“I thought we did a better job with our roles, keeping the ball in front of us,” Painter said. “Offensively, we got some good looks and we took what they gave us.”

Actually, the Boilermakers (7-5) seemed more content to take what they could.

With Edwards and Cline driving through the lane more often, it opened up the perimeter and the Bobcats (7-4) had no answers for the two-pronged attack.

The result: Purdue ended a two-game losing streak, won for only the second time in six games, finished with a season-high point total and hardly resembled the team that went nearly one full month without topping the 80-point mark.

While the Boilermakers seemed to find their comfort zone back inside Mackey Arena for the first time in two weeks, the other explanation may have been Painter’s rare lineup change. Boudreaux started in place of center Matt Haarms, who was one of the Big Ten’s top bench players last season.

And though Haarms’ numbers looked mundane — four points, four rebounds, no blocks — the impact he made with the second unit was noticeable.

“Matt really had more energy when he came off the bench last year and we don’t really play him much more this year than we did last year. I didn’t realize that till I watched the tape,” Painter said. “We need to get him in a mode where he can play with that energy.”

It didn’t take long to see the difference.

When Haarms entered with 15:52 left in the first half, the Boilermakers led 10-5. When he left, roughly four minutes later, Purdue led 26-7.

Coincidence? Not really.

“We weren’t able to get position inside and we didn’t attack very well,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips said. “They came out very physical and very tough.”

And the Bobcats never really recovered.

Ben Vander Plas rallied Ohio by making three of his four 3-pointers late in the first half to close the deficit to 49-36. Vander Plas and Teyvion Kirk each scored 15 for Ohio, which had a two-game winning streak end.

Jason Preston’s 3 to open the second half got Ohio within 49-39 but Purdue closed out the win with a 15-2 spurt that made it 70-45 with 11:33 to go.

BIG PICTURE

Ohio: The young Bobcats couldn’t keep up with the more talented Boilermakers. But instead of going away early, Ohio fought its way back and hung around for a while — a promising sign for the future.

Purdue: The Boilermakers desperately needed to switch gears and they did. If they continue playing like this offensively, they should be just fine.

STAT PACK

Ohio: The Bobcats gave up their highest point total this season, surpassing the 84 they allowed to Marshall on Dec. 1. … Ohio’s leading rebounder Doug Taylor logged only 19 minutes, 11 seconds because of foul trouble. He finished with six points and four rebounds. … Connor Murrell had nine points. … The Bobcats had a 9-6 advantage in offensive rebounds but wound up losing the overall battle 36-27. … Ohio was 9 of 24 on 3s.

Purdue: Edwards also had five assists and four 3s while Cline had four assists and five 3s. .Freshman Eric Hunter Jr. had a season high 13 points off the bench. … Purdue matched its season best by making 14 3s. … The Boilermakers scored more than 90 pints for the first time since Nov. 15 and finished with a season high in points. … Purdue has played seven of its 12 games outside Mackey this season.

THEY SAID IT

Ohio: “Whatever they did, it worked. They should keep doing it,” Phillips said when asked about Purdue’s lineup change.

Purdue: “It feels good whenever the ball goes in the bucket, but it all starts on defense,” Hunter said.

UP NEXT

Ohio: Returns home to face Florida International on Dec. 30 before opening Mid-American Conference play.

Purdue: Closes out the nonconference schedule on Dec. 29 when it hosts Belmont.