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Purdue University

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Purdue
vs. Minnesota
When: 8:30 p.m. today
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: 1380 AM, 1480 AM

Inconsistent Boilers need turnaround vs. Gophers

– Purdue’s frustration level has grown with every loss.

And if the Boilermakers (13-9, 3-6 Big Ten) hope to break a four-game losing streak today when they play host to Minnesota (15-7, 4-5), coach Matt Painter said the team needs more consistent play.

“We have some good spurts. We do some good things, but then we compound our mistakes,” Painter said during Monday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference. “A turnover leads to a run out. A bad shot normally leads to a layup at the other end. Then we will do some good things and not be able to finish at the rim. … We just have to be better at what we do.”

Finding that consistency has been difficult for a Purdue team with few upperclassmen.

Terone Johnson and Travis Carroll are the Boilermakers’ only seniors who were on the team last year, and they have no juniors. Errick Peck and Sterling Carter are seniors, but they are in their first year with the program.

The lack of upperclassmen has made it difficult for the Boilermakers to play with the maturity Painter had hoped to have this season.

“It’s big, to be honest with you,” Painter said. “You want your classes full with two or three seniors, two or three juniors, ... and we don’t have that with people who’ve been in our program.

“But there are still teams in our league winning with younger guys. You have to play with a maturity when you play younger guys, and we haven’t been able to do that and be consistent in that area.”

The Boilermakers will be playing a team that is struggling as well. The Gophers have lost three of their last four but did defeat Purdue 82-79 on Jan. 5, though they had their leading scorer in that win.

Gophers junior guard Andre Hollins, who averages 15.5 points, is expected to miss today’s game with a sprained left ankle.

Hollins suffered the injury 16 seconds into Minnesota’s 81-69 win over then-No. 9 Wisconsin on Jan. 22 and didn’t play in losses to Nebraska and Northwestern.

“We anticipate him not playing, just because he hasn’t practiced,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. “Certainly it is not hard to figure out that Andre Hollins is extremely valuable to our basketball team. We are 1-2 without him. The one game we won without him was an emotional rivalry game at home. We need him back. We need him back healthy, because he is one of the better guards in our conference.”

Even without Hollins, Painter said his team faces a difficult task to even the season series against the Gophers.

“(Malik) Smith has been able to knock down some shots, obviously hit those eight 3s against Nebraska,” Painter said. “Maurice Walker wasn’t a factor when we were playing at that time, and now he is. He’s had a couple of really good games for them, and him (Elliott) Eliason are giving them that bunch at (center).

“The point guard, (Deandre) Mathieu, is very, very fast and is hard to keep in front of you. Austin Hollins has struggled shooting the basketball, but he’s been in this league a long time. He’s athletic, can do a lot of different things, and he’s a guy that can get hot and burn you.”

tkrausz@jg.net

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