WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — As No. 11 Purdue's most highly regarded recruit since Glenn Robinson, freshman forward Caleb "Biggie" Swanigan understands the expectations.
The McDonald's All-American and Indiana's 2015 Mr. Basketball is starting to live up to the hype, scoring a career-high 19 points to go with 12 rebounds in the Boilermakers' 93-55 victory against Howard on Wednesday night.
Purdue improved to 10-0 for the first time since winning the first 14 games in 2009-10.
Swanigan scored 11 points during a blistering 56-point first half and has back-to-back double-doubles. He had 11 points and a career-best 14 rebounds Monday against IUPUI. He was 7 of 10 from the field against the Bison, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.
"He has been playing really well," said point guard P.J. Thompson, who had a career-high nine assists. "I kind of think people forget he is a freshman, even though he is a highly touted freshman and a high school All-American. Tonight, he let the game come to him."
Howard (6-4) lost for just the second time in eight games while playing without Division I scoring leader James "J-Byrd" Daniel, who averages 28.4 points per game and is nursing a toe injury.
The Bison also played the second half without guard Damon Collins, who became ill at halftime. Collins is averaging 12.6 points.
Dalique Mingo led Howard with 14 points, and Marcel Boyd added 12 before fouling out.
"Purdue's physicality took over," Howard coach Kevin Nickelberry said. "They are big and took advantage of that. And this isn't a team you want to play when you are short-handed like we were tonight."
Purdue coach Matt Painter is enjoying watching Swanigan develop early in the freshman's career.
"His instincts are great," Painter said. "He just makes really good decisions and doesn't force things. He has an excellent basketball IQ."
Kendall Stephens added 14 points to Purdue's balanced attack, and Rapheal Davis had 10. Purdue had assists on 28 of its 34 field goals, shot 50 percent from the field and outrebounded the Bison 45-31. Center A.J. Hammons had nine rebounds in 20 minutes.
Leading 12-11 with 15:14 remaining in the first half, the Boilermakers went on a 36-6 run over the next 10 minutes for a 48-17 lead. The blitz included five 3-pointers from four different players and a 3-point play by 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas.
Purdue, which had a 24-1 run in the second half against IUPUI, opened with its most complete half against Howard. The Boilermakers shot 58 percent from the field, including 7 of 14 from beyond the arc, with 18 assists and no turnovers. Thompson had five assists before halftime.
"We have had good spurts, but most of them have come in the second half, so it was good to see us get one in the first half," Painter said. "The thing I liked was how well we took care of the ball in the first half."
Seven Boilermakers scored at least five points before halftime, while Howard made just eight of 26 first-half shots (31 percent).
Purdue continued to build on a 56-24 halftime advantage, leading 70-33 with 13:09 remaining and 80-43 with 7:22 to play.
Howard: The Bison were playing their third game in six days, all away from home. ... Howard came to Purdue averaging 80.7 points and allowing 73.0.
Purdue: Davis, a senior guard, returned after missing four games with a sprained knee. He is the reigning Big Ten defensive player of the year. ... Purdue has won every game by at least 12 points and entered Wednesday leading the Big Ten in scoring margin at 23.9 points.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"It really is too bad that Howard did not have all of their best guys, because this would have been a much different game," Painter said. "I really wanted our guys to have a chance to play against Daniel, because he would have given us problems."
With 12 rebounds, Swanigan has five games of 11 rebounds or more and is averaging a team-leading 9.6 per game. Of his 96 rebounds, 81 are defensive boards.
Howard: Home against Radford on Saturday.
Purdue: Home against Youngstown State on Saturday.
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