Lehigh head coach Brett Reed watches from the sideline as his team plays Purdue in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. Purdue won 77-55. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
AJ Mast
November 28, 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Purdue center Isaac Haas acknowledges that sometimes he becomes timid, worrying about picking up a third or fourth foul.

The 7-foot-2 Haas was aggressive in the second half against Lehigh, leading the 16th-ranked Boilermakers to a 77-55 victory Saturday night.

Haas scored 21 of his career-high 24 points in the second half when Purdue pulled away. Haas made 8 of 11 field goal attempts and 8 of 10 free throws, playing 20 minutes without a turnover.

Purdue, specifically Haas, took advantage of foul trouble to reigning Patriot League Player of the Year Tim Kempton to improve to 6-0, with all the victories by at least 22 points. Haas' previous high was 19 as a freshman in a Maui Invitational loss to Kansas State.

''Obviously, I got a lot more aggressive in the second half,'' said Haas, who is averaging a team-leading 15.0 points a game. ''Because this team has great comraderie, it helps us share the ball and find the open man. If we continue to play like this, we can play deep into the NCAA tournament.''

Purdue made only 4 of 19 attempts from 3-point range but was 22 of 41 inside the arc, where Lehigh could only hope that Haas missed.

''They committed to finding Haas,'' Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. ''Purdue is a very balanced team, and our dilemma as Lehigh is finding a way to protect the paint and stop their perimeter. We had no answer for Haas.''

Johnny Hill added 13 points, P.J. Thompson had 10, Vince Edwards finished with nine points and 10 rebounds, and Caleb Swanigan had seven points and 12 rebounds.

Combined, Hill and Thompson were 5 of 5 from the field, 12 of 14 from the free throw line and had seven rebounds, two assists and one turnover in 40 minutes.

But according to Purdue coach Matt Painter, this was Haas' night.

''That's really what he's done the whole season so far,'' Painter said. ''He's been simple. He's cut down on his turnovers. He's learned, if they come and double to strip the ball out of his hands, instead of trying to go through them, just make the easy play, and it's really working out for him.''

Kempton led Lehigh (0-6) with 17 points and nine rebounds.

The Boilermakers played without senior guard and No. 2 scorer Rapheal Davis (11.6 points and 3.4 rebounds), who suffered a sprained knee in practice Wednesday, Hill said he and Thompson needed to provide some of what the team missed with Davis sidelined.

''Rapheal is such a good leader, P.J. and I and really everyone had that next man up philosophy tonight,'' said Hill, who came off the bench after starting the first five games.

A 3-pointer from Thompson with 5:57 remaining extended Purdue's lead to 62-46. Haas' two free throws gave the Boilermakers a 72-48 lead.

Hill and Thompson combined for 16 first-half points, and Purdue led 36-26 through 20 minutes in large part because it limited the Mountain Hawks to 24.3 percent field goal shooting (9 of 37). Lehigh missed its first eight shots.


Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks have played a challenging early season schedule, also losing to Syracuse and Virginia ... The game was an Indiana homecoming for three Lehigh players - junior guard Austin Price (Indianapolis), sophomore guard Tyler Jenkins (Fishers) and freshman forward Matt Holba (Noblesville).

Purdue: The Boilermakers are 6-0 for the first time since the 2009-2010 team began the season with 14 consecutive victories ... Entering the Lehigh game, Purdue's three most recent opponents had shot a collective 30.5 percent from the field ... Sophomore point guard P.J. Thompson made his first start of the season and the second of his career.


Thompson had a career best 15 points in a Nov. 22 victory over Florida and came back with 10 points, three rebounds and two assists against Lehigh. He still has not made a turnover this season.


Purdue made 21 of 25 free throws (84 percent) and has been much improved at 72 percent this season.

''Everybody came in during the offseason and worked on that,'' Edwards said. ''Last season, we were in a lot of close games, and some nights we made them, and some nights we did not. All of us are committed to that.''


Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks play at St. Francis (Pa.) on Wednesday.

Purdue: The Boilermakers are at Pittsburgh on Tuesday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

You May Like