Indystar reports: Purdue center JaJuan Johnson single-handedly negated West Virginia’s overall size advantage and turned a showdown between unbeatens into a blowout.
Johnson had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 4 Purdue beat sixth-ranked West Virginia 77-62 on Friday.
Purdue coach Matt Painter was concerned heading into the game because West Virginia’s starters all stand between 6-foot-7 and 6-9. The 6-10 Johnson stood the tallest, making 8 of 14 field goals and blocking two shots.
Johnson was more focused on the team effort and the perfect non-conference season than his individual statistics.
“We came ready to play,” he said. “Once we get things clicking on offense, we
are very dangerous.”
Purdue expected Johnson to be a key factor because West Virginia switches on screens, which the Boilermakers thought would create mismatches. West Virginia’s Da’Sean Butler said the Mountaineers didn’t work together defensively.
“Johnson just had like, eight dunks, with no help-side at all,” he said.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was disappointed in his team’s defensive effort against Johnson.
“I think our point guards did a better job of guarding him than our big guys did,” Huggins said. “He destroyed our bigs. Maybe we should have kept our point guards on him.”
Robbie Hummel scored 18 points and E’Twaun Moore added 15 for the Boilermakers, whose largest lead was 26 points.
Purdue (13-0) is one of five unbeaten teams in the nation. When asked if the Boilermakers made a case for the No. 1 ranking, Painter said check back in a month.
“We have to prove ourselves and be more consistent,” he said. “We’re getting into league play. We’ll see how we play on the road.”
The Mountaineers (11-1) were bidding for their first 12-0 start since the 1957-58 season, but Purdue handled West Virginia’s star guard combination of Butler and Devin Ebanks. Butler scored 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Ebanks scored 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting.
Huggins said his young team had two major disadvantages heading into the game — youth and playing at Mackey Arena.