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WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue center A.J. Hammons had a first: he played a game without committing a foul.
Also, he didn't start for the fifth time this season.
The result -- Hammonshe had eight points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 17 minutes as the Boilers (9-3) routed Maryland-Eastern Shore 79-50 Tuesday night.
Hammons entered the game with a team-leading 30 fouls. He'd fouled out twice -- including last Saturday's Butler loss.
Here are some of coach Matt Painter's thoughts about Hammons and the fact his team finished 8-0 in non-conference home games:
“A.J. has to be in legal guarding position. You watch tape and he's fouling. He's has to get in legal guarding position. Sometimes when he starts a game he gets those quick, cheap fouls.
“Referees like to set the tone in a game -- what's going to be called in the post; what's going to be called on the perimeters. Sometimes those fouls are cheap. It happens. We wanted to stay away from that.
“In a couple of games, A.J. wasn't ready at the start of the game, so we went with Jay Simpson. It's more of getting him in legal guarding position. If he can play without fouling, it's really going to help us. I'd like to play games against quality people when he's getting 25 to 30 minutes."
“He brings energy. He competes. As a freshman there's a downside in that you don't have a high level of experience in terms of defending things or understanding what you want. There are so many things he has to understand, but he always plays hard. He always practices hard. We need his energy. It doesn't mean he'll start the next game.”
“We took less and made more. That's important for this group. It's important for a lot of teams. Getting the ball inside a zone is difficult. They're doing it for a purpose. When they're really packing it in, you have to do a better job of getting the ball to the high post and making a decision.”
“Turnovers just kill us. It's very important to get a quality shot.
“There was a moment in the game where we have two straight turnovers, and then we rush a shot. We have to understand the importance of that third possession. We have to be a more mature team, more cerebral team in those situations or it will continue to happen.”