Alcorn State (0-2) at (14) Purdue (1-0)
Wednesday, November 17th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mackey Arena (14,123) -- West Lafayette, Indiana. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Alcorn State 0-0, Purdue 1-0. Away Record: Alcorn State 0-2, Purdue 0-0. Neutral Record: Alcorn State 0-0, Purdue 0-0. Conference Record: Alcorn State 0-0, Purdue 0-0. Series Record: First- ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The 14th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers welcome the Alcorn State Braves to town for an early season non-conference affair.
Alcorn State, a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), began its season on Friday with an 88-56 loss to Texas A&M. Hoping for a better showing, the Braves traveled to Houston to battle the Cougars on Sunday, and while that contest was slightly more competitive, it is hard to get too excited about an 88-68 loss.
Purdue has won its last 19 regular season non-conference games, so there is plenty of reason for confidence tonight. It was widely believed that the Boilermakers would be the favorites to win the Big Ten this year and potentially make a serious run at their first Final Four since 1980, as they returned three of the top seniors in the country. Unfortunately, the team's best all-around player, Robbie Hummel, tore his ACL in the offseason and will miss this campaign. As a result, head coach Matt Painter's squad has plenty to prove, but Sunday's 76-40 romp over Howard in the opener was encouraging.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between Purdue and Alcorn State on the hardwood.
Marquiz Baker did all he could to keep Alcorn State in contention against Houston last time out, but the even his 22 points couldn't prevent the lopsided loss to Houston. Kendrick McDonald, another reserve, notched 17 points, but the Braves' starters posted only 16 combined points on 5-of-23 shooting from the floor. Overall, Alcorn State connected on only 34.9 percent of its field goal attempts, including 3-of-11 from behind the arc, and the club finished with just four assists against 14 turnovers. If not for a 21- of-28 effort from the foul line, the final margin of defeat would have been even greater. In the season-opening loss to Texas A&M, Alcorn State shot just 29.8 percent overall and turned the ball over 19 times. so there are definitely offensive problems in need of solutions.
E'Twaun Moore (16.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.7 apg) and JaJuan Johnson (15.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg) were two of the top players in the Big Ten Conference last season and are capable of keeping Purdue at an elite level despite the loss of Hummel. In the opener against Howard, Moore tallied 16 points. Johnson only netted 10 points, but he did rip down 12 rebounds and block five shots. Both D.J. Byrd and John Hart shot 4-of-5 from three-point range and finished with 12 points for the Boilermakers, who finished with 21 assists against only 11 turnovers. Purdue earned a 49-38 rebounding advantage and limited its overmatched opponent to 24.6 percent shooting from the field, an impressive defensive effort to say the least.
Purdue is clearly superior to Alcorn State and will win tonight in convincing fashion. Expect Painter to empty his bench midway through the second half.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Purdue 88, Alcorn State 59
11/17 11:16:06 ET