11/6/19 Green Bay,  Eric Hunter Jr.

Purdue guard Eric Hunter Jr. puts up a shot against Green Bay. Hunter finished the game with 15 points, four rebounds and six assists.

Led by newcomer Jahaad Proctor's 26 points, No. 23 Purdue opened its season with a 79-57 win over visiting Green Bay on Wednesday night.

Right before the start of the game, nostalgia swept the arena as Purdue unveiled the 2019 Big Ten Championship banner just before the starting lineup.

Head coach Matt Painter started the game with junior guard Nojel Eastern, sophomore guard Eric Hunter Jr., senior guard Proctor, sophomore forward Aaron Wheeler and junior center Matt Haarms.

It was a sloppy game at the start for both teams. By the 17-minute mark, both squads had committed two turnovers. 

Purdue (1-0) was able to build the lead through its defense. The Boilermakers applied their usual full-court defense which kept the Phoenix playing fast. While Green Bay's (0-1) style is up-tempo, Purdue's defense forced it into bad shots.

Through six minutes of play, the Phoenix were shooting 11% from the field. Even though Purdue led, the Boilers were having issues on offense. They had a hard time feeding their bigs down low which led to free baskets for the Phoenix in transition, after steals. 

Purdue also struggled at the 3-point line. The team's most accurate deep shooter, sophomore guard Sasha Stefanovic, sat out of Wednesday's game with a foot injury.

The Boilermakers shot 32% from 3-point distance, on 6-for-19 shooting.

Near the end of the first half, Eastern exited the game with an apparent wrist injury after being fouled on a floater attempt. He was unable to shoot the free throws and headed straight to the locker room. Eastern returned to the bench and was able to check back in to the game.

Purdue went into the halftime break leading, 35-22.

The Boilermakers started the second half the exact same way they started the first, playing physical on the defensive. They forced turnover early in the half and turned that into four points.

On the other side of the basketball, Purdue struggled to get the ball in the basket. It was Proctor who broke the spell for the Boilermakers. He scored seven straight points to extend Purdue's lead. His teammates continued to apply pressure defensively, leading to a 7-0 run from Purdue that ended after a foul in transition.

Purdue continued to dominate the Phoenix throughout the contest and went on to win 79-55.

The leading scorer for the Boilers was Proctor with his 26 points to go with five rebounds and two assists. He shot 9-for-14 and 3-for-6 from 3, free throw line.

"I'm a grad transfer in my fifth year in college," Proctor said. "I've played against all levels, and I can score at all three levels. I just know when time's running down, it's time to make a play."

The only freshman to play for Purdue was guard Isaiah Thompson.  He was unable to score but showed a willingness to shoot when open and drive to the basket.

Hunter was the Boilers' leading assist man. He finished with 15 points, six assists and four rebounds.

Haarms showed out, finishing with 16 points, seven blocks, seven rebounds and three assists. He shot 5-for-6 from the field and was perfect from downtown as he knocked down two 3s. Additionally, Haarms was 4-for-5 from the free throw line. 

"If they play the way they played tonight," Green Bay coach Linc Darner said, "I think they'll have a great year."

Purdue returns to action at 7 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Texas (1-0). The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports1.

Game Notes:

  • Purdue improved to 1-0 with a 79-57 win over Green Bay in front of 14,804 fans at Mackey Arena. ... The Boilermakers won their seventh straight season opener, the last six coming by at least 22 points. ... Purdue is now 101-21 all-time in season openers.
  • Purdue improved to 3-1 all-time against Green Bay and is now 30-2 against members of the Horizon League. ... The Boilermakers have won 16 straight games against current members of the league.
  • Purdue is now 14-1 all-time under Matt Painter in season openers. ... Purdue has held its opponent under 60 points in nine of the last 13 season openers.
  • Purdue is now 24-1 under Matt Painter against winless teams at home.
  • Purdue has won 22 straight games when holding foes under 70 points.
  • Purdue won its 18th straight home game, now the fifth-longest streak in America and now tied for the fifth-longest streak in school history. ... Purdue's 20 straight non-conference home wins are the fourth-longest streak in school history. ... Purdue has sold out nine straight games dating to last year.
  • Purdue is now 64-4 (.941) at Mackey Arena since the start of the 2015-16 season. ... The Boilermakers are 56-2 (.966) with the Paint Crew in attendance over the last 58 games.
  • Jahaad Proctor's 26 points are the most in a Purdue debut since Glenn Robinson scored 30 points in his first game in a Purdue uniform on Nov. 29, 1992. ... It marked his 27th career 20-point game.
  • Matt Haarms' seven blocked shots were a career high and tied for the fifth most in a game in school history. ... It was the most since A.J. Hammons had eight against Michigan State on Feb. 9, 2016.
  • Eric Hunter Jr.'s 15 points and six assists were both career highs.
  • Aaron Wheeler had a career high nine rebounds.

– Purdue Athletics Communications contributed to this report.

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