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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 13, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mackey Arena (14,846) -- West Lafayette, Indiana. Television: BTDN. Home Record: CCSU 0-0, Purdue 1-0. Away Record: CCSU 0-0, Purdue 0-0. Neutral Record: CCSU 0-1, Purdue 0-0. Conference Record: CCSU 0-0, Purdue 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Purdue Boilermakers continue their five-game homestand to open the 2013-14 season, as they play host to the Blue Devils of Central Connecticut State on Wednesday night.
It wasn't easy in the season opener, but Matt Painter's Boilermakers still landed in the win column with a 77-76 victory over Northern Kentucky. Purdue has been a steady decline in terms of wins over the past few seasons and last year finished at just 16-18 overall. The hope is that a solid returning core and a couple of newcomers can start pushing that win total north of. 500.
Central Connecticut State is under the guidance of 19-year veteran Howie Dickenman, who has led the Blue Devils to three NCAA Tournament appearances (2000, 2002, 2007). Last season, CCSU finished just 13-17 overall, including a 9-9 mark in the Northeast Conference. This year's team returns a star in the backcourt in Kyle Vinales. Despite Vinales' efforts in the opener however, Central Connecticut fell to Yale this past weekend, 93-77.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two teams on the hardwood.
Vinales led the NEC in scoring a year ago at 21.6 ppg and picked up right where he left off in the season-opening loss to Yale, pouring in 30 points on 11-of-23 shooting, including 24 points in the first half. Vinales' effort in the first half propelled the Blue Devils to a 47-40 halftime lead, but the team netted just 30 points over the final 20 minutes of action to fall to the Bulldogs. CCSU's lead swelled to 17 points in the final stanza, but Yale came roaring back for the win. Guards Malcolm McMillan and Matt Hunter added 11 points each, while forward Juwan Newman came off the bench to tally 10. Overall, CCSU converted just 42.9 percent from the floor, but was an effective 43.8 percent from 3-point range (7-of-16).
It came down to the wire against the Norse, but Ronnie Johnson's two free throws with 12.5 seconds left proved to be the difference in the one-point win over Northern Kentucky. Purdue's starters were on point the whole game, shooting 22-of-40 from the field (.550). The bench struggled however, at just .278 (5-of-18). Ronnie Johnson finished with a team-high 18 points and doled out five assists. Three other starters joined him in double figures, as Jay Simpson (14 pts), Errick Peck (11 pts) and Terone Johnson (10 pts) all made significant contributions. Peck, a transfer from Cornell, gives the team a presence in the paint, as evidenced by his team-high nine rebounds in the win over Northern Kentucky.
The Blue Devils have a dynamic scorer in Vinales, but lack the depth behind him to top a team from a power conference like the Big Ten. The Boilermakers may not vie for a conference crown again this year, but should take steps in the right direction.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Purdue 76, Central Connecticut State 61
11/13 10:31:21 ET