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5 keys: Purdue can't handle Butler

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For more on college sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio

Boilers 0-3 in Crossroads Classic

Sunday, December 15, 2013 - 8:44 am

INDIANAPOLIS – Purdue's hopes of ending Crossroads Classic futility crashed once again against Butler and its basketball way.

The Boilers' 76-70 loss Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse made them 0-3 in this three-year event, 0-2 against the Bulldogs.

Purdue (8-3) is 0-3 against Butler (8-2) under coach Matt Painter.

Here are five keys to the Boilers' defeat:

1. Taking care of the ball

Painter always emphasizes this, but it's especially crucial against a Butler team that doesn't beat itself. Instead, the Boilers had 18 turnovers (11 in the second half) against nine assists. Guard Terone Johnson had six turnovers. Center A.J. Hammons had three. Swingman Rapheal Davis had four turnovers in 16 minutes.

Butler converted those turnovers into 25 points.

2. Keep Hammons in the game

Hammons can be a dominating player, but fouls have been a season-long problem. They were again as he fouled out in just 10 minutes. Given he had 10 points, three rebounds and three blocks, not having him in the game was big.

Purdue could have handled that if Jay Simpson had delivered. But he missed a couple of layups and went 1-for-5 from the field for two points and four rebounds in 12 minutes. That wasn't nearly enough production from what should have been a big Boiler inside advantage.

3. Tough-minded play

Purdue was in range down the stretch, and needed to play tough and decisive on offense and defense. Instead, it turned soft while Butler was the tougher team. Purdue gave up late runs of 7-0 and 14-1that cost it big time. That has to change of the Boilers are to have Big Ten success.

4. Defense

Purdue couldn't stop Butler in the second half. The Bulldogs shot 52.2 percent in the final 20 minutes, including 5-for-9 from three-point range. Butler guard Elijah Brown scored all nine of his points in the second half. Much of this was the result of the turnovers and an overall lack of down-the-stretch composure.

5. Too much Erik Fromm

The Butler senior came in shooting 9-for-29 from three-point range for the season. If there was one Bulldog to give some perimeter space, he was the guy.

Instead, Fromm made the Boilers pay. He was 3-for-6 on three-pointers and finished with 14 points (his season average was 6.4) and a career-high four blocks.