11/16/19  Chicago State, Nojel Eastern

Junior guard Nojel Eastern slam dunks the ball against Chicago State. Eastern had 6 points, three steals and five assists in his 27 minutes of play on Saturday.

In the Boilermakers’ Wednesday matchup against Marquette, Purdue’s offense was able to get take an early 9-0 lead. However, in Saturday’s game against Chicago State, the Boilers struggled to get it going.

Purdue shot a lot of 3-pointers early and finished 11-for-36 from deep.

“The thing you have to strive to do is to beat good teams when you don’t shoot the ball well, and we’re not there yet,” said head coach Matt Painter.

The Boilermakers also struggled defensively for most of the first half. Chicago State came in as the underdog, and it held a lead on the Boilermakers at the final media timeout of the first half.

“I thought they played better than us in the first half,” Painter said. “We had some shots not go down, but we also had a lot of breakdowns on the defensive end.”

Purdue got it together at the end of the first half and carried a 10-point lead going into halftime. The team came out of the halftime break looking like a completely different team, outscoring the Cougars 55-21 in the second half, which included a 37-3 run.

Purdue starter sophomore forward Aaron Wheeler posted a double-double for the game, with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The team also received a large amount of help from the bench. Senior forward Evan Boudreaux scored 14 points, and freshman guard Isaiah Thompson scored 17 points, including five 3-pointers.

Coming into this game, Thompson had only scored 3 points in total over the Boilermakers’ first three games.

“It was good to see the ball go in today,” Thompson said. “Everybody on this team keeps telling me to be aggressive and keep shooting. I feel like I’m just staying confident and playing hard on the defensive end."

Junior guard Xavier Johnson led Chicago State in scoring with 12 points. Unlike the Boilermakers, the Cougars did not receive much help from their bench, with only 6 points coming from their second unit.

The Boilermakers also dominated with rebounds, grabbing 48 in comparison to the Cougars’ 22. Almost half of Purdue’s 48 rebounds were offensive rebounds, which played a big part of Purdue’s dominance in the second half. The offensive rebounds created a lot of extra opportunities for the Boilermakers, which helped them score not only in the post but also on the perimeter.

“I thought our effort on the glass was really good,” Painter said. “We have to be able to continue that.”

The Boilermakers have a week off until their next game.

“We’re going to keep pushing forward and keep doing the little things,” sophomore forward Trevion Williams said. “We’ve got a lot of big games coming up.”

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