Jan. 18, 2009
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) – Keaton Grant is starting to resemble the shooter his Purdue teammates selected as their most valuable player last season.
The junior guard scored 12 points and made 4 of 5 3-pointers as the 19th-ranked Boilermakers defeated Iowa 75-53 on Sunday afternoon.
Grant also made two big 3-pointers in the final five minutes Thursday in a win at Northwestern, including the one that gave the Boilermakers the lead with about a minute left. He was one of the Big Ten’s best perimeter shooters a year ago, but he entered Sunday’s game making 30 percent from 3-point range this season.
He said he just needed to change his approach.
“I think it’s more that I’m just not worrying about it anymore,” he said. “I just let it come to me. At the beginning of the season, I was worrying too much about hitting open shots. I was rushing shots, falling back.”
Now, Purdue coach Matt Painter hopes Grant can add extra scoring punch to a team that has an established post presence in JaJuan Johnson and capable scorers in Robbie Hummel and E’Twaun Moore.
“I think it’s going to take a string of games to really get him going,” Painter said. “I think if we can get him going, it will really help.”
Purdue tied a season high by shooting 49 percent from the field, and the Boilermakers made seven 3-pointers in the second half against the Hawkeyes. Moore scored 13 points, Nemanja Calasan had 10 and Hummel added nine points, eight rebounds and two blocks for the Boilermakers (14-4, 3-2 Big Ten). It was Purdue’s third straight Big Ten win after starting 0-2.
The Boilermakers forced 19 turnovers and held Iowa to 36 percent shooting.
Purdue led 26-22 in the closing seconds of the first half before Marcus Green drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key as time expired to make it 29-22 at halftime. Iowa had missed a chance to cut Purdue’s lead to two points moments earlier.
“They were gaining some momentum at that time, so it was a huge shot,” Painter said.
Purdue held Iowa to 32 percent shooting and blocked six shots in the first half.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Grant, Moore, Hummel and Lewis Jackson were part of an 18-2 run that extended the advantage to 49-28 early in the second half.
Iowa coach Todd Lickliter said that run was too much to overcome.
“We had our deficiencies, and Purdue just had that stretch where they hit three or four 3-pointers in a row,” he said. “They are an extremely skilled team, and it goes way beyond shooting.”
The Boilermakers rolled from there. A fast break dunk by Chris Kramer made it 68-38 with just over seven minutes to play.
“I felt like our guys really got their rhythm there shooting the ball,” Painter said. “It seemed like a couple of guys knocked down shots, and everybody else started making theirs.”
Purdue had 19 assists on 25 field goals and committed just 12 turnovers. The Boilermakers had 17 assists and 22 turnovers against Northwestern.
“I think the most important thing for us is just probing the defense a little more and making the extra pass,” Painter said. “With that, I think our percentages are going to go up.”
Iowa made 9 of 20 3-pointers, but was 9-of-30 from inside the arc.
“I thought in stretches we played well,” Lickliter said. “Unfortunately, you can’t do that against Purdue. You pretty much have to play 40 minutes of flawless basketball.”