Purdue steamrolls Saint Peter'sMar 19, 2011 - 4:51 AM
Lewis Jackson added 12 points for the third-seeded Boilermakers (26-7), who advanced to face Virginia Commonwealth in the Southwest Region after the 11th- seeded Rams upset No. 6 seed Georgetown later on Friday.
Jeron Belin scored 12 points for the 14th-seeded Peacocks (20-14), but the MAAC Tournament champions fell to 0-3 all-time in the NCAAs.
Purdue entered the tournament toting a two-game losing streak after being bounced from the Big Ten quarterfinals by Michigan State last week.
But the Boilermakers have a history of starting strong in the NCAAs -- Friday marked their 13th straight tournament-opening win dating back to a loss against Rhode Island in 1993.
"It's good to get that first win," said head coach Matt Painter.
Of course, they drew an opponent this year that was overmatched in every way.
The Peacocks may have had one of the most colorful names in the tournament, but there was little vibrancy in their performance against Purdue until a modest run in the second half kept it from being an overwhelming blowout.
They scored just 17 points in the first 20 minutes of the game, a 2011 NCAA Tournament-low for the first half.
"You know, sometimes you hope in a 14-3 game they might overlook you and you can kind of get some rhythm early, but those guys came out to play," said Saint Peter's head coach John Dunne. "Unfortunately, we didn't have our best offensive night obviously."
The Peacocks, however, narrowly avoided the lowest score in any half so far this year. That honor remains with Tennessee after Bruce Pearl's browbeaten Volunteers scored just 16 points in the second half of a 75-45 loss to Michigan earlier Friday.
Of course, Saint Peter's was facing a battle-tested Purdue team that has made back-to-back Sweet 16s behind seniors Johnson and Moore, who pushed their own record in the NCAAs to 6-3.
"I thought our pressure really bothered St. Peter's," said Painter, "and kind of knocked them out of what they wanted to do."
Indeed, from almost the opening tip, this one was never a game.
Purdue started with a 15-4 run in the first eight minutes, keyed by four points apiece from Moore and Johnson. D.J. Byrd knocked down a three-pointer to end it.
The Boilermakers scored seven straight points to end the half, building a 33-17 lead heading into the locker room despite shooting a modest 44 percent. They shot 42 percent in the second half.
The Peacocks shot just 26 percent in the first half and 30 percent for the game. They used a 16-6 run in the second half to get within 53-36, but the signs of life came too late and Purdue responded swiftly.
"We did a really good job just being ready to play today," said Johnson.
It was the first-ever meeting between the teams...Saint Peter's won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament for the third time overall and first since 1995...Purdue is making its fifth straight appearance in the NCAAs and 25th overall (34-24)...The Boilermakers opened the tournament against a MAAC team for the second-straight year after defeating Siena in 2010.
- ST. PETER'S: 43
Mar 18 9:23 PM
- ST. PETER'S: 17
Mar 18 8:07 PM
- ST. PETER'S: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Mar 18 7:21 PM
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