During the waning moments of Purdue's game against Wisconsin Saturday, E'Twaun Moore found the ball in his hands quite often.
The freshman guard, who totaled 16 points in the Boilers' four-point win, had his number called at least twice when Purdue needed critical hoops while trying to hold the lead. On the first, he hit a runner to extend the Boilers' lead to seven with 2:44 left. On the second, a similar shot rimmed out, setting up Wisconsin's final possession.
"It was by design for him to make a decision," Coach Matt Painter said during his Monday teleconference. "
He had options to penetrate and pitch or shoot his three or drive the ball for his pull-up.
"It was the right decision and a good shot, it just didn't go down."
Moore says having the coaches' confidence is a boost.
"When I look back on it, it makes me feel good," Moore said. "It makes me want to work harder so I can definitely have the ball in my hands again.
"It definitely gives me confidence, knowing that they have a belief and faith in me."
With his performance against the Badgers - his season-high was 18 points against Loyola - Moore jumped his average to 10.3 points on just better 40 percent shooting.
"He's got a very good intermediate game," Painter said. "He's able to shoot that little runner of his, the pull-up (jumper). It's been effective for him. He's got a natural feel for the game."
The Hawkeye rematch
For the second time in two weeks, the Boilermakers will face the Hawkeyes.
Purdue hosts Iowa Thursday, after beating the Hawks 67-62 at Carver-Hawkeye on Jan. 16. Also, the Boilers will face their Saturday opponent, Illinois, just 14 days after handling the Illini, 74-67, in Mackey.
Painter says playing teams back-to-back can help, though it can go the other way as well.
"I think the mistakes are fresh too," he said, "which helps more than anything. Sometimes as time goes on, you only remember the good things. You don't remember, especially when you win, that you had some breakdown that could have led to a loss, even though it didn't. We had a lot of mistakes in those games. We'll go back and try to improve on those things."
During its last four games - all victories - the Boilers are averaging just 11.5 turnovers per game.
It helps, Painter says, that Purdue generally plays a lineup that includes four players who are more than capable of dribbling up the floor.
"There's no doubt," he said, "it doesn't just help, it's key.
It helps with the flow of the offense, getting a better shots and just with taking care of the basketball."
Coming off its win over then No. 11 Wisconsin, Purdue is likely to start at least receiving votes in many national polls.
But Painter doesn't think the Boilers deserve a ton of national attention.
"I don't think we should, because I don't think we've been consistent enough," Painter said. "As a team, I think we've been consistent here in the last month, but you just can't play consistent basketball for four weeks and expect to get attention. You have to play consistent basketball for two or three months.
"If we do it right now, play as consistent in February as we did in January, we will deserve that kind of attention."
What time is it?
Not only did the game clock malfunction at the 3:33 mark of the second half - the officials noticed and corrected that problem - but it did so in the first half as well.
The clock stopped at 10:42 in the first half, staying frozen at that mark for at least three possessions, perhaps spanning 40 seconds of game time. Apparently, no official personnel noticed the malfunction, although a few fans did.
"I did not get an explanation as to why it happened," Painter said. "I did see it the one time late. I didn't see it, though, in the first half. I didn't even realize it until (I was told afterward)."
Since the Penn State game, you might have noticed two newcomers to the Boilermaker bench.
Sophomores Garrett Mocas and Mark Wohlford, both graduates of Columbus East High School, have been practicing with the Boilers since the beginning of the season. Mocas is a 6-foot-8, 218-pounder. The two began dressing at Penn State and will continue to do so.
"They've done a good job for us of just practicing hard," Painter said. "A lot of times, as a coach, you get leery when guys come on the team as walk-ons, because they have to understand 'you have to help us win and you're not going to probably play on the team.'
"We just thought we needed more depth in practice and both those guys have done a great job of just helping us get better every day. I just wanted to reward them."
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