Bloomington, IN – Sporting an impressive 17-1 home record ranked Indiana Hoosiers try to close out the regular season on a high note as they clash with the Purdue Boilermakers in Big Ten Conference play at Assembly Hall.
The Hoosiers are riding a huge high right now after defeating fifth-ranked Michigan State on Tuesday night, 70-55. Not only was it the team's third straight victory and the sixth in the last seven outings, it also marked the third time this season Indiana has taken down a top-five program, the first time that's happened in the 112 seasons of basketball at Indiana.
With the win last week the Hoosiers also moved into a tie with these same Boilermakers for fifth place in the Big Ten standings with the conference tournament pending. Depending on how this game plays out and what happens with Wisconsin, Indiana can finish anywhere between 4-6 in the standings, while Purdue can either be the fifth or sixth seed when the tourney begins.
As for the Boilermakers, they too have hit a hot streak recently with a three- game run of their own, taking five of the last six outings overall. Earlier this week the team easily dismissed Penn State at home in an 80-56 final to capture their 20th win of the campaign.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Boilermakers are ahead by a count of 112-85, although it was Indiana that won the first meeting of the season on the road last month by a 78-61 score. Prior to the setback Purdue had rattled off five straight wins over the Hoosiers.
Robbie Hummel played a complete game against Penn State on Wednesday night as he dialed up 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 37 minutes of work. Also scoring in double figures for the hosts at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette were D.J. Byrd with 14 points, Terone Johnson 13 and Lewis Jackson 12 points to go along with his five dishes in the lopsided outcome. Even though he is shooting only 39.8 percent from the floor in conference play, Hummel is still the leading scorer by far for the Boilermakers in those outings with his 16.4 ppg, accounting for 7.8 rpg and a team-best 21 blocked shots as well. Hummel also enters the contest ranked 11th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,704 points, needing only three more to pass Glenn Robinson. Byrd, who has come off the bench in all but four of the conference games in which he has appeared, is scoring 12.1 ppg and is the three-point specialist for the program with his impressive 49.4 percent accuracy.
Like almost every other team that has faced off against Michigan State this season, Indiana allowed Draymond Green (29 points, eight rebounds) to have his way, but other than that the Hoosiers were all over the Spartans in the 15- point decision in Bloomington earlier this week. Offensively the Hoosiers had five players score in double figures, led by Cody Zeller who dropped in 18 points, followed by Victor Oladipo with 13, Verdell Jones III 12 and both Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls 10 points apiece. Watford also cleared a game-high 14 rebounds and made a pair of steals in the triumph. Zeller has been playing extremely well in conference play this season, leading a quartet of double-digit scorers with his 15.6 ppg as he shoots 61.4 percent from the floor. Watford (11.7 ppg), a mere 38.7 percent accurate from the field, is making good on 38.6 percent beyond the arc, all while leading the program in rebounding in conference play with 6.2 rpg. Jordan Hulls (10.8 ppg) and Matt Roth (5.4 ppg) have combined to shoot 56-of-118 on the perimeter versus the Big Ten.