Purdue’s punishment prevails

Gilberto Manzano

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Purdue guard E’Twaun Moore (33) drives around Cal State Northridge guard Mark Hill, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind. Friday. Photo Credit: Tom Strattman / AP photo

Purdue guard E’Twaun Moore (33) drives around Cal State Northridge guard Mark Hill, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind. Friday. Photo Credit: Tom Strattman / AP photo

Did Willie Galick walk under a ladder before entering the visitor’s locker room in Mackey Arena? Did Mark Hill see a black cat run on the court while warming up before his game against the Boilermakers? There has to be an explanation as to why everything went wrong for the Matadors in the first half versus No.7 Purdue.

Oh, that’s right, it was Friday the 13th.

The Matadors were unlucky in their season opener against Purdue, losing 89-64. The only bright spot for Northridge was Kevin Menner’s game-high 18 points.

No, the Matadors didn’t lose because they were unlucky (well, maybe since they fell behind 28-3 with a little over five minutes gone by—that wasn’t a good sign). Northridge lost because they faced a deeply talented Purdue team who had a huge size advantage.

Also CSUN had a couple of players that had never played in a regular-season Division-I game. With the Mackey Arena packed with over 14,000 screaming Purdue fans, the junior college transfers were like deer caught in the headlights. Lenny Daniel, who shined in exhibition play, only managed to score six points in his D-I debut.

Purdue head coach Matt Painter wasn’t going to take Northridge lightly. He studied what CSUN did to Memphis in last season’s NCAA Tournament and was ready for any defensive scheme Northridge head coach Bobby Braswell was going to run.

“We will work against the zone they have played in the past and we will work against their tough physical man-to-man (defense),” Painter said about preparing for Northridge.

The Boilermakers are led by 2009 Big Ten Tournament MVP Robbie Hummel. Hummel was a big reason why Purdue got hot early; he scored five points within the first two minutes of play. Purdue was able to go inside easily and shoot lights out from outside the paint. The Boilermaker defense only allowed the Matadors to score 20 points in the first half.

In the second half the Matadors decided to show up by outscoring Purdue 44-34. Galick, who didn’t play much of the first half due to foul trouble, scored all of his 11 points in the second period. Menner shined in his Matador debut by developing a quiet 18 points in the game.

Six-foot-four E’Twaun Moore was able to shut down 5-foot-11 Hill, who only scored two points and recorded zero assists.

By playing well in the second half, the Matadors can use that as confidence going into the preseason tip-off NIT in Tempe, Ariz.

Tonight the Matadors face Texas Christian University (TCU) in the first round on the West Regional. The winner of that match faces the winner of the Arizona State vs. Texas State game, on Tuesday’s West Regional Championship game.

TCU was picked to finished seventh in the preseason Mountain West rankings.