Purdue moves on without Barlow
CHICAGO – Credit Purdue coach Matt Painter with making a swift and proper decision to suspend reserve guard Kelsey Barlow.
Barlow, cited for conduct detrimental to the team, won’t be in action Friday when the third-seeded Boilermakers face Saint Peter’s in a second-round Southwest Regional game at the United Center.
The last thing Purdue – coming off consecutive lopsided losses to Iowa in the regular-season finale and Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament – needed was to see its bench get thinner. The loss of Barlow (5.1 points, 1.6 assists over 19.5 minutes per game) won’t help.
Painter stayed focused on the bigger picture.
“There’s two things you look at – let’s do what’s best for the team and let’s do what’s best for the individual,” Painter said Thursday. “I try my best to be fair with guys and help them through things. But when you get a pattern of behavior, you go back to doing what’s best for your team. That’s the decision I made.”
Led by senior standouts JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore, Purdue seemed to have a solid path to the Sweet 16. The Boilers would have to defeat Saint Peter’s and likely Georgetown to get that far. Painter isn’t conceding that possibility without Barlow. He’ll take his chances behind mainstays Moore and Johnson and hope for help elsewhere.
“Sometimes when something like this happens, it can draw your team closer,” Painter said.
Painter said Terone Johnson is the player who will most have to compensate for Barlow’s absence. Johnson is averaging 4.8 points and 1.7 assists in 19 minutes per game. JaJuan Johnson and Moore plan to step up their efforts as well.
“This team has dealt with a lot of adversity all year,” said JaJuan Johnson, referring to the preseason loss of Robbie Hummel to a knee injury. “So we’ll definitely overcome it. It’s an unfortunate situation, but we’re all going to be fine.”