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Friday, March 24, 2017

Purdue coach Matt Painter on KU: ‘Shoot the way those guards shot then they can’t be stopped’

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) puts up a three over Purdue guard Dakota Mathias (31) during the first half, Thursday, March 23, 2017 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) puts up a three over Purdue guard Dakota Mathias (31) during the first half, Thursday, March 23, 2017 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

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— Through the first three rounds of the NCAA Tournament, the Kansas basketball team has scored more than 90 points in each game and emptied the bench in the final minutes.

After KU’s 98-66 victory over Purdue in the Sweet 16 on Thursday at Sprint Center, Purdue head coach Matt Painter was asked whether he could see anybody stopping the Jayhawks.

“If they play like they did the second half they can’t,” Painter said.

The second half was the No. 1-seeded Jayhawks (31-4) at their best. They shot 67 percent from the floor, including a 7-of-12 mark from behind the 3-point line. They were strong defensively, forcing Purdue forwards Caleb Swanigan, Isaac Haas and Vincent Edwards to earn each shot.

The Jayhawks even out-rebounded the much taller Purdue, 36-29.

“Their guards made some tough shots and just got into transition too much,” Painter said. “We've been able to dominate the boards in our first two games and they did a good job on the glass. Seemed like every time they got an offensive rebound they made us pay.”

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Swanigan, the Big Ten’s player of the year and a national player of the year finalist, scored 12 points in the second half. But he couldn’t take more advantage when Kansas senior center Landen Lucas picked up his third foul with 15 minutes remaining.

With Lucas on the bench, Swanigan was guarded by a mix of Kansas forwards Josh Jackson, Dwight Coleby and Carlton Bragg.

“When the game is moving so fast it's hard to take advantage of size opportunities,” said Swanigan, who finished with a team-high 18 points and seven rebounds. “It comes down to speed with so many long rebounds. It's faster too and not really who is bigger.

“So they played well and we lost all the non-negotiables. We had more turnovers. They won the rebounding and free throw war. Can't win the game like that. Only way we could have won this game is if we shot 80 percent with losing all three of those.”

The Jayhawks took a seven-point lead into halftime after ending on a 22-7 run in the final six-and-a-half minutes of the first half.

KU’s lead at halftime was despite fourth-seeded Purdue (27-8) shooting 56 percent from the field and connecting on 6 of 13 3-pointers. In other words, the Boilermakers were happy with how they were playing, and still frustrated by the scoreboard.

“We felt like we should have been in a better spot going into halftime,” Painter said. ”I thought we had some opportunities in the first half that we kind of let squander away from us and should have been in a better (spot), but they were really good.”

Once the Jayhawks found their rhythm shooting the ball, there was no stopping them. Kansas guards Frank Mason III and Devonte' Graham combined for 52 points on 16-of-26 shooting, including a 9-of-14 clip from the 3-point arc.

After watching the Jayhawks at their best, Painter wasn’t going to say they were completely unstoppable for the rest of the tournament — “On a game where you get in a neutral site, anything can happen,” he said.

Unless Kansas finds a way to keep shooting the way it did in the second half.

“You cannot let them get in transition,” Painter said. “They're going to keep getting those opportunities. Shoot the way those guards shot then they can't be stopped.”

By the Numbers: Kansas 98, Purdue 66

By the Numbers: Kansas 98, Purdue 66

— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Purdue


Comments

Brian Wilson 1 month ago

Seriously. Nice article but let's not get ahead of ourselves let alone get a big head about ourselves. Keep your focus Jayhawks!!

Mike Greer 1 month ago

Mr. Double Double, got his usual points but not the rebounds, and was close to a double on turnovers. The team did a great job on him! And he was the guy that had me concerned.

Max Kandinsky 1 month ago

Painter getting a jab at the NCAA committee for allowing KU to play the the Sprint Center (non-neutral site)... get used to it. The thing is, this KU team in particular has played extremely well in hostile / neutral environments. Of all the great teams KU has had, I am the least concerned with the venue with this team. The only exception is if the large domes will affect 3 point shots if we can get past Oregon.

Bryce Landon 1 month ago

If Purdue had a chance to play NCAA Tournament games in Indianapolis or Chicago, I'm sure someone would be bitching about them having a home-court advantage also.

Al Martin 1 month ago

I don't think he was really taking a jab; before the game he said that Kansas had earned the right to the venue. I think he was just answering the question he was asked, and thought that on a neutral site, anything could happen.

Bryce Landon 1 month ago

Purdue is a good team; they really are, probably should have been seeded higher than 4th. We just made them look really bad last night, that's all.

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