WEST LAFAYETTE – The Purdue men's basketball team is lacking in discipline right now.
Not in the sense that the players are lax in their behavior off of the court or in the classroom, they won't be wearing the Boilermakers jersey long if they do that. But lacking in discipline both offensively and defensively and that isn't some sportswriter's opinion, but the thought of the best player on the team.
“Not being disciplined is why we lost,” Purdue junior guard Terone Johnson said following his team's loss to Xavier on Saturday.
The Boilermakers (3-4) will host Lamar (1-6) at 6:30 p.m. today (BTN).
Purdue coach Matt Painter has spoken repeatedly this season of his team's lack of patience, which stems from being disciplined, at the offensive end of the court. He wants his team to be patient and get the ball inside to the plethora of post players that the Boilermakers have for the first time in a while.
But they don't.
“”We talked about being more patient, being more selective,” Painter said. “And trying to get the ball inside, but we didn't do that (against Xavier).”
Not only are the Purdue players not patient offensively in trying to work the ball inside to – predominantly – freshman center A.J. Hammons, but when they struggle with their perimeter shooting (and 0 for 17 from three-point range against the Musketeers certainly qualifies as struggling), they lack discipline in that their reaction as well.
“If things don't go our way, you still must be patient,” Painter said. “You take what you can get in transition. You take what you can get off of the glass, but in the half-court, you have to get a quality shot. When you struggle like that, you don't shoot quicker.”
That lack of discipline has also spread across the 10-second line and has begun to affect the Boilermakers defense. Repeatedly in Saturday's defeat, Xavier was able to not just be the aggressors and drive to the rim, but on those drives, the Purdue players fouled the shooter, which allowed the Musketeers to get three-point play opportunities.
“I think we lead the country in fouling people for three-point plays,” Painter said sarcastically, but with a touch of truth to the point. “Either you are going to play on the basketball or you're going to take a charge. We're constantly in between those two worlds.”
The Boilermakers coaches have continued to instruct the players how to defend drivers without fouling, but Painter isn't seeing the results of that.
“If you don't feel like you can take that charge,” Painter said, “then you need to cut in front of him or try to block the basketball. We've kind of half-jumped at that time, which makes absolutely no sense.”
Despite the inconsistent play by his inexperienced team this season, there are a number of areas that the eighth-year coach has been pleased, so he isn't ready to give up on this group.
“We're going to continue to make things teaching moments,” Painter said. “They say that you need one loss to teach a lesson, you don't need two. We keep losing and obviously we'd like to get some things corrected, but you've got to stay with it. I like our talent, I just don't like our discipline and I don't like our inexperience.”