Ryan Kriener, Bakari Evelyn, Luka Garza and 18th-ranked Iowa have a score to settle Tuesday.
When the Hawkeyes host Big Ten rival Purdue for their Senior Night, they’ll be aiming to exact revenge for their worst loss of the season. On Feb. 5, the normally offensive-challenged Boilermakers canned a whopping 19 3-pointers and blasted Iowa 104-68 in West Lafayette, Ind.
So if this next game has been circled on every calendar in and around Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the past month, there’s a good reason.
“We watched the clips on that (Sunday) and it wasn’t much fun,” Kriener said. “It added fuel to the fire; we have been ready for it.”
How unexpected was Purdue’s outburst?
The Boilermakers enter Tuesday night ranked 272nd in Division I in scoring (67.9 points per game), 259th in field-goal percentage (42.2) and 164th in 3-point field-goal percentage (33.6). But in their first matchup with the Hawkeyes, Purdue sank 63.1 percent from the field and set a school record for most 3-pointers in a game.
The Boilermakers canned 55.9 percent from the 3-point line (19-for-34), putting their effective field-goal percentage for the night at nearly 80 percent.
“That is always tough when you give that stuff up,” Kriener said. “We did some stuff that helped them get rolling. You have to tip your caps to them; at the end of the day, they hit all those shots.”
Purdue (15-14, 8-10 Big Ten) hasn’t been close to being as efficient since that magical night. In fact, it just snapped a four-game losing streak on Thursday night with a 57-49 win over visiting Indiana that gave it a season sweep of the Hoosiers.
It was a victory headlined by the characteristically tough defense for which Matt Painter-coached teams are known. Indiana converted just 15 of 59 shots from the field, including 5 of 24 from the 3-point line, and committed 13 turnovers.
“Their inability to score at the start of the second half and our ability to increase the lead was big,” Painter said. “Any time you can compete with and beat your rival is a big accomplishment. You have to stay grounded and humble, and move on to the next game.”
Trevion Williams scored 19 for the Boilermakers and Eric Hunter added 17, just one off his career high. Williams has been a demon on the offensive glass this season with 98 offensive rebounds, good for sixth place on the school’s single-season list. He has 25 in the last five games.
If Purdue is to notch a season sweep of Iowa (20-9, 11-7), it needs to solve the offensive woes of the last four games, in which it’s averaged just 59.3 points. The Hawkeyes are 24th nationally in scoring at 78.1 ppg, finishing just under their average Saturday in a 77-68 victory over Penn State.
Garza, who has a chance to win national Player of the Year, logged his 14th straight game of at least 20 points with a 25-point, 17-rebound performance. This came despite an unusually poor 11 of 28 game from the field.
Garza is averaging 23.7 points and 9.8 rebounds, converting 54.1 percent of his shots.
–Field Level Media