No. 15 Purdue looks to keep building against Georgia State
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — If 15th-ranked Purdue needs incentive to avoid a possible letdown on Friday night against Georgia State, Boilermaker point guard P.J. Thompson is ready to build a strong case against complacency.
Purdue (1-1) played with great passion and effort in Monday night’s 79-76 loss to reigning national champion and third-ranked Villanova in the Gavitt Tipoff Games at Mackey Arena.
The Boilermakers took two 3-point shots during the final 10 seconds in a bid to force overtime, but neither shot found its mark.
Now, Purdue must brace for an opponent with lots of Indiana ties.
Thompson, whose half-court shot at the first-half buzzer Monday night tied the Villanova game at 39, knows Georgia State will be eager to catch the Boilermakers napping.
Panthers’ head coach Ron Hunter, who entered his sixth season with 103 victories, was the head coach at IUPUI in downtown Indianapolis for 17 seasons and lived in the Indianapolis Pike High School district, where his son, R.J., was a standout performer before joining his dad when Ron Hunter took the Georgia State job.
R.J. Hunter plays for the Chicago Bulls and is a good friend of Thompson.
Thompson grew up near the Hunter residence and was friendly with the Hunter family, although Thompson attended Indianapolis Brebeuf Jesuit High School.
"I’ve always admired R.J, and knowing coach Hunter, he will have his team ready to play Friday night," Thompson said Wednesday. "Coach Hunter likes to change defenses a lot, so it’s a huge game for them, and a huge game for us.
"We need to bring the same kind of intensity against Georgia State as we brought against Villanova. I was talking to (assistant) coach (Kenneth) Lowe after the Villanova game, and he told me that if we bring that intensity every night, we won’t lose many games."
Purdue knows that Georgia State’s leading scorer — 6-foot-8 senior forward Jeremy Hollowell — will play with lots of intensity. Hollowell, who played high school basketball at Indianapolis Lawrence Central, was recruited by Purdue coach Matt Painter but ended up picking Indiana.
Hollowell transferred to Georgia State and is averaging 21.5 points and five rebounds.
Purdue forward Vince Edwards, who had 10 points, four rebounds and eight assists in Monday’s loss to Villanova, believes Georgia State will encounter a Boilermaker team that is eager to play after its performance against the 2016 national champions.
"We are excited about where we are now and how we can keep building," Edwards said. "There really is no ceiling as to where this team can go.
"We had some miscommunication on ball screens and some other mistakes against Villanova, but they are little things that we can correct. That’s one of the reasons we are excited to get right back out there and play Georgia State."
Georgia State’s primary task will be coping with Purdue’s 7-2 junior center Isaac Haas and 6-8 sophomore power forward Caleb Swanigan.
Haas is averaging 22 points and 4.5 rebounds, and Swanigan is averaging 21.5 points and 14 rebounds. Haas has made 17 of 21 shots from the field, and Swanigan has made 15 of 26.