Purdue finishes fifth at Maui Invitational

Purdue defeated Brigham Young in overtime Wednesday to finish fifth at the 2014 Maui Invitational. This was the Boilermakers’ second straight fifth-place finish at the event.

Photo: Brian Spurlock/USA Today Sports
Photo: Brian Spurlock/USA Today Sports

After losing to Kansas State in its first game, Purdue knocked off Missouri with ease to reach the fifth-place game. The Boilermakers and the Cougars needed 45 minutes to decide a winner, and Purdue center A.J. Hammons‘ jump-hook with 1.8 seconds left in overtime sent his team home with a 2-1 record at the tournament.

“Coach just pretty much called the play for me to get in the post,” Hammons said. “Only thought I had in my mind was pretty much to get the shot up. … It felt really good [out of my hand]. Even though you’d never know that because it hit the back of the rim.”

Hammons finished with 12 points and four blocks Wednesday. After a big sophomore year, Hammons is struggling a bit to start his junior season. Hammons has remained a force defensively with 2.8 blocks per game.

But through six games, he is averaging only 7.8 points and 4.3 rebounds. Part of that is because he has been seen plenty of the bench with four fouls in each of his last three games.

But Hammons’ lack of offensive production is not such a big deal with the way coach Matt Painter‘s freshmen have been playing. Freshman scored nearly half of Purdue’s points in Wednesday’s win.

“I think all these guys have come in with a good attitude and good work ethic,” Painter said. “It’s different in college basketball now, you step on campus in June and everybody wants to play immediately. These guys have come on with a good attitude and worked hard and they’re good listeners.”

Vince Edwards, who already has one Big Ten Freshman of the Week award under his belt, exploded for 25 points on 7-for-8 shooting along with nine rebounds against Brigham Young.

“Coach Painter said when you get on the floor, you have to be able to make plays for us,” Edwards said. “Fortunately, my teammates found me and I was able to drive and get off the shots. We were playing great team ball.”

Freshman center Isaac Haas also had a strong performance with 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting. Haas averaged 12.3 points and 5.3 rebounds and shot 77.8% from the field during the Maui Invitational.

Purdue now returns home and will face North Carolina State (5-0) Tuesday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Author: Jesse Kramer

Jesse Kramer is the founder of The Catch and Shoot. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He has had work featured on SI.com, College Insider, The Comeback/Awful Announcing, and 247Sports.

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