FACTS & STATS: Site: Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117) -- Evanston, Illinois.
Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Purdue 9-4, NU 7-7. Away Record: Purdue 2-3,
NU 3-3. Neutral Record: Purdue 0-3, NU 2-0. Conference Record: Purdue 4-4, NU
3-6. Series Record: Purdue leads, 122-43.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams hoping to recover from double-digit losses to two
of the top teams in the country get together in the Land of Lincoln on
Saturday, as the Northwestern Wildcats play host to the Purdue Boilermakers in
a Big Ten Conference bout.
The Boilermakers were blown out by Indiana at home on Wednesday night, 97-60,
in one of the most one-sided affairs in the history of that bitter rivalry.
Prior to that loss, Purdue had won three of its last four, with the only
setback coming against top-ranked Michigan in Ann Arbor.
After losing at Michigan on Wednesday, 68-46, the Wildcats are coming into
this meeting with Purdue having dropped their last two games by significant
margins, including a 64-49 loss at Nebraska, one of the worst teams in the
conference. Northwestern has lost three of its last four and has failed to
crack 60 points in any of those contests.
Purdue heads into Welsh-Ryan Arena on Saturday with a 122-43 advantage in the
all-time series, and is winners of four in a row against the Wildcats. The
Boilermakers' last trip to Evanston resulted in a 58-56 win on a Robbie Hummel
jumper in the closing seconds of a back-and-forth affair.
Cody Zeller scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, helping No. 3 Indiana
rout the Boilermakers earlier in the week, the Hoosiers biggest margin of
victory ever in West Lafayette. Indiana put the game away with a 14-1 spurt
midway through the second half, and Purdue couldn't get closer than 26 after
that. Indiana shot 57.1 percent in the second half and made a season-high 12
3-pointers. The Boilermakers were led by a pair of freshmen. A.J. Hammons
scored a season-high 30 points and Ronnie Johnson added 13. No other
Boilermaker scored more than four points.
Terone Johnson (13.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg), Hammons (10.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and D.J. Byrd
(10.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg) are all averaging double figures for the Boilermakers,
with Ronnie Johnson (9.4 ppg) on the cusp. As a team, PU puts up 65.8 ppg
while allowing 63.1 ppg, and the team is +5.4 in rebounding margin while
holding the opposition to just 39.1 percent field goal accuracy. The
Boilermakers are the top rebounding team in the Big Ten in conference games,
grabbing an average of 38.0 per tilt.
A hot start for top-ranked Michigan proved to be too much for Northwestern to
overcome, as the Wildcats were blown out of the building in Ann Arbor. The
Wolverines took a 36-21 advantage into the intermission as they shot 60.9
percent from the field and didn't commit a turnover in the half. For the game,
the Wildcats were limited to 37.3 percent efficiency, while Michigan shot 51
percent and committed just two turnovers on the night. Alex Olah led NU with
10 points, while Jared Swopshire contributed eight points and as many
Reggie Hearn leads the team in scoring, hitting 47.4 percent of his total
shots, including almost 37 percent of his long-range tries, to net 13.7 ppg.
The loss of Drew Crawford for the season with an injured shoulder (13.5 ppg)
continues to haunt the 'Cats, but Dave Sobolewski (11.2 ppg) and Swopshire
(9.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg) have tried their best to pick up the slack. Still, NU
averages just 63.4 ppg, but does a nice job defensively in yielding only 61.8
Northwestern has had trouble scoring points lately and Purdue plays solid
defense and has several scoring options. Expect the Boilermakers' youth
movement to continue to shine as Purdue walks away with a close road victory.