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Deep roster gives Purdue freshmen time to impress

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Tipoff: Alcorn State

at Purdue, 7 p.m. Wednesday

TV: Big Ten Network

Radio: ESPN, 1380-AM

Terone Johnson, Travis Carroll put up solid numbers vs. Howard.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 10:56 am

So what's a coach to do when he has enough depth for two teams and only so many minutes to maximize it?

For now, when you're Purdue coach Matt Painter and the opening schedule is as soft as a grandmother's hug, you play the roster and reap the benefits.

Thirteen players saw action in Sunday's 76-40 win over Howard, 11 got at least 12 minutes and 10 players scored. Senior guard E'Twaun Moore got the most minutes (26) and points (16).

Figure more share-the-wealth possibilities for Wednesday night's game against Alcorn State (0-1).

“You start with the guys who have been there, then you give other guys opportunities, and when they do their jobs, that builds trust,” Painter said. “We have some young guys I like.”

What's not to like about freshman guard Terone Johnson, who had nine points, three assists and no turnovers in 20 minutes, and freshman forwards Travis Carroll (two points, eight rebounds) and Sandi Marcius (four points, one block)?

Carroll's rebounding was especially huge because that's the area that has cost Purdue the most in recent NCAA tourneys. If the 6-9, 230-pounder can consistently deliver, look out.

“Rebounding was something we saw in recruiting him,” Painter said. “He averaged like 13 to 14 rebounds in high school. He hasn't gotten as many rebounds in practice as we thought he would, but he did a good job (against Howard). He has to keep working. He's got to learn to be more physical without fouling and use his body to wedge out space.”

Purdue's depth means freshman guard Anthony Johnson will redshirt this season. He played in the two exhibition games and averaged 5.5 points and 2.0 rebounds in 14.5 minutes.

“This decision was made for the long term with the goal of putting myself in the best possible position to help the team down the road,” Johnson said in a release. “I'm going to challenge myself to see how much I can improve this year. I'm looking forward to seeing the results.”

Moore will graduate this season. Purdue has no guards in next year's recruiting class.

One area of guard concern comes with point guard scoring. Lewis Jackson and Kelsey Barlow, who spent so much offseason time working on their shooting, combined for 1-for-10 shooting for two points in 34 minutes against Howard.

They should get plenty of scoring opportunities against Alcorn State. It is coming off an 88-56 loss at Texas A&M on Thursday, in which it shot 29.7 percent from the field, got out-rebounded by 20 and committed 37 fouls. Chris Davenport led the Braves with 11 points.

Losing is part of the Alcorn State tradition. It went 2-29 last season, 0-13 in nonconference play. It is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Coach Larry Smith is 8-54 in his third season.

The Braves' leading returning scorer is sophomore forward Ian Francis (9.5 points, 6.0 rebounds).