WEST LAFAYETTE – It might have been come against one of the worst teams in Division I basketball, but Purdue got a result it sorely needed – and, for the most part, the kind of play it needed – in a 79-50 win over Maryland Eastern Shore on Tuesday at Mackey Arena.
Purdue (9-3) hoped for a tune-up game after its 76-70 loss to Butler on Saturday, and the Hawks (2-6) obliged. The Boilermakers, who have their last chance at a nonconference true road win Sunday at West Virginia, dismantled their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference foe and built some confidence against an inferior opponent.
There were lulls, as is to be expected in such a mismatched game, but the Boilermakers made strides they needed to within the game Tuesday.
Sophomore center A.J. Hammons, who played just 17 minutes because of foul trouble Saturday, had eight points, seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks and no fouls in the win over the Hawks. He played only 17 minutes again, but this time around, it was because of a large lead, not poor decisions on the court.
Nine players scored five or more points for Purdue in the rout, although only senior guard Terone Johnson (14) cracked double figures.
Maryland Eastern Shore won the tip and opened with a 3-pointer by KyRee Jones as the first shot clock wound down, but from there was held scoreless for until 13:27 remained. Purdue strung together a 14-0 run in that time, sparked by Hammons' four points, two rebounds and block in that sequence.
Jones hit another three to stop the run, but points remained few and far between for the Hawks. Maryland Eastern Shore, which shot 38.5 percent from the floor entering the game, went 5 of 23 in the first half and had more turnovers (eight) than made shots.
Purdue held Maryland Eastern Shore below its average, which was 341st in the country entering Tuesday. The Hawks shot 34 percent from the floor, committed 15 turnovers and gave Purdue 26 points off those miscues.
Jones, who scored 23 for the Hawks, was the lone source of frustration for Purdue. He hit five 3-pointers en route to his game-high in scoring.