One of college basketball’s most intense rivalries will renew when No. 1 Purdue visits No. 21 Indiana on Saturday afternoon for a Big Ten showdown in Bloomington, Ind.
Purdue (22-1, 11-1) is off to the best start in program history and carries a nine-game winning streak into this matchup.
Indiana (15-7, 6-5) is looking to bounce back from a 66-55 loss at Maryland on Tuesday that snapped a five-game winning streak.
Boilermakers coach Matt Painter made it a point for his team not to look past Penn State on Wednesday with the rivalry game looming, and his team responded with an impressive 80-60 win.
“I don’t try to keep it from like, hey, we have a rivalry game on Saturday, and now we’re playing somebody. That’s an NCAA Tournament team. Penn State is an NCAA Tournament team. So that’s what I told our guys,” Painter said. “How can’t you get up to play a team that’s probably going to be in the NCAA Tournament and have that kind of energy? But how can’t you play when each game matters to try to hopefully win the Big Ten championship?”
The Boilermakers got a career-best outing from reserve Mason Gillis, who scored 29 points and made nine 3-pointers — the most ever by a Purdue player at their home venue Mackey Arena.
It took some of the pressure off 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey, who still had 18 points and 13 rebounds.
“Your defense, your concentration, your rebounding, taking care of the basketball, those are things that always travel,” Painter said. “You have to be solid in those areas. So Mason has worked really, really hard and it’s great to see all his hard work pay off.”
This is the first time Purdue will face Indiana while ranked No. 1 in the nation.
The Hoosiers present one of the biggest challenges to the Boilermakers maintaining that top spot.
Trayce Jackson-Davis leads the Hoosiers with 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. He delivered 18 points and 20 rebounds against Maryland, surpassing the 1,000-rebound mark for his career.
Indiana, though, struggled to find any rhythm outside of Jackson-Davis due to an effective zone defense by Maryland, which kept the Hoosiers’ backcourt from getting enough good looks from outside. Indiana also struggled against the Terrapins’ pressure, turning the ball over 12 times.
“When we got it inside against the zone it was more of a man-to-man,” Indiana coach Mike Woodson said. “When they did decide to play us man-to-man we just couldn’t execute. We didn’t execute and we haven’t done that in a long time.”
Indiana’s perimeter game was shut down by the Terrapins. The Hoosiers shot just 11 times from 3-point range, making only three.
Jalen Hood-Schifino — the Hoosiers’ second-leading scorer with 12.3 points per game — was held to only three points on 1-of-14 shooting.
“Our perimeter play was nonexistent tonight,” Woodson said. “They shoot 30 percent, 20-something percent from the 3, you’ve got to think that you can’t win a game when that happens.”
–Field Level Media