When the Boilers need an important hoop, they put the ball in the hands of E'Twaun Moore. Oh, and in case you didn't know, that's the way it's been for the better part of three consecutive seasons, but somehow Robbie Hummel and JaJuan Johnson get most of the attention anyway.
Moore has led Purdue in scoring each of the past two years (averaging 12.9 ppg in his freshman season and following that up with 13.8 ppg in his sophomore campaign), but he is now developing into one of the nation's premier scorers as a junior.
The Boilermakers' sharp-shooting guard is pouring in 17.6 points a contest and making over 50 percent of his field goal attempts to spearhead the Old Gold and Black's offensive attack.
Against Wisconsin Thursday night, Moore played a team-high 38 minutes, dropped in 20 crucial points, and came up with a clutch basket whenever his team needed one.
None of Moore's shots were as gigantic as the floater he hit in the lane with 25 seconds left to put the Boilermakers on top for good. E'Twaun has shown an amazing propensity to get into the paint against whoever happens to guard him and it's an enormous luxury for Painter to put the ball in his hands at crunch time and know good things will happen.
Moore did the same thing before intermission, scoring (seemingly with ease) a go-ahead basket with less than five seconds left on the clock to give Purdue the halftime momentum. In fact, Moore got to the rim so easily I wondered out loud why Purdue didn't run a clear-out for him on every single possession (since they'd only managed 27 points in the entire period).
It says something about Painter's stellar recruiting that his trio of juniors (Hummel, Johnson, and Moore) may each earn all-Big Ten honors during one of their first three seasons. Hummel got the nod in 2008, Johnson was selected in 2009, and two-time Second Team pick Moore seems a shoo-in for the award this March.
If Moore keeps playing the way he is right now, that may not be the only trophy the Boilermakers get their hands on in March.