The Purdue Boilermakers were anxious to steam ahead after their season-opening loss to Bucknell. The Hofstra Pride were the unfortunate car stalled on the tracks.
Purdue's 83-54 drubbing of Hofstra started with an unusual starting lineup featuring three freshmen and walk-on Dru Anthrop. It ended with last season's forgotten man, sophomore Jacob Lawson, drawing much of coach Matt Painter's praise.
"If this was a closer game, Jacob Lawson would have played more," Painter told the media at his postgame press conference. "He earned it, he made the difference with his energy and his hustle and his offensive rebounding in the first half."
Lawson finished his 15 minutes with eight points, two steals and three rebounds, all on the offensive end. When the reporters asked Lawson about his play, he echoed Painter's message.
"That's what Coach wanted to see, he just told me to go out and play my hardest," Lawson said. "I'm an energy kind of guy. That's what he likes to see, so I'm going to keep doing it."
The Boilers got points from 13 different players, and 12 logged at least 10 minutes as Painter experimented liberally with his lineup.
After shooting doomed the Boilers on Friday night, Purdue got much better looks, shooting 51 percent from the floor and 39 percent from three-point range. Free throws were also much less of an adventure, with the Boilers making 10 of 13 after a shaky 46-percent effort in the opener.
Hofstra lacked frontcourt personnel as big and skilled as Bucknell's, and Purdue was able to take advantage. The Boilers dominated the glass, outrebounding the Pride 50-22. For the second straight game, however, a guard led Purdue in rebounds, this time freshman Raphael Davis with seven.
Freshman point guard Ronnie Johnson recorded another strong all-around game, recording nine points, six rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Anthony Johnson led the Boilers with 14 points.
Purdue did have issues with ball security, turning the ball over 20 times. The Boilermakers' next opponent, Villanova, forced 16 miscues from a solid Marshall team in a victory on Sunday. Painter and his staff will surely be forced to emphasize ball-handling in preparation for the team's trip to New York.
While Purdue's defense forced 17 turnovers itself, the defense was occasionally sloppy in its own right. The Boilers committed 20 fouls for the second straight game, sending Hofstra to the line 23 times. That is another weakness that Villanova will attempt to exploit, as the Wildcats attempted 37 foul shots in their win over Marshall.