Ann Arbor, MI – The Purdue Boilermakers go in search of their fourth straight win, although achieving that goal won't be easy as they pull into Ann Arbor for Thursday night's Big Ten Conference clash with the second- ranked Michigan Wolverines.
It was believed that Purdue's record after 10 games (4-6) was going to be indicative of the level of success the team would reach this season, but Matt Painter's club turned a corner by winning six of its next eight games, which includes three of five Big Ten bouts. The Boilermakers dropped two in a row to nationally-ranked foes Michigan State and Ohio State a couple of weeks ago, but since then has knocked off the likes of Penn State (60-42), Nebraska (65-56) and West Virginia (79-52).
Michigan was on course to take over the top spot in the Top-25 last week, but bitter rival Ohio State had other plans as the Buckeyes handed the Wolverines their first loss of the season in a 56-53 final on Jan. 13. The Maize and Blue responded by posting an 83-75 win at ranked Minnesota last Thursday, giving the team a week to rest up and game plan for this contest. Michigan is 11-0 at home this season, and the team is 26-1 at Crisler Center over the last two years -- the lone loss coming against Purdue in 75-61 final on Feb. 25, 2012.
Purdue owns an 83-62 lead in the all-time series with Michigan, and the teams split a pair of meetings last season.
D.J. Byrd scored 17 points, Rapheal Davis had 16, Anthony Johnson added a dozen and Terone Johnson chipped in 11, all of which helped lead Purdue to its recent rout of West Virginia. The Boilermakers shot 49.2 percent from the floor, draining 8-of-11 3-point attempts along the way, while the Mountaineers were limited to 29.3 percent field goal efficiency, which included a dismal 3- of-18 showing from beyond the arc. PU controlled the glass (44-34), outscored the visitors in the paint (36-20), and turned 17 WVU turnovers into 22 points. Terone Johnson averages a team-high 13.3 ppg, but it shooting just 39.4 percent from the field, and he is joined in double-digits by Byrd (10.4 ppg) and A.J. Hammons (10.3 ppg), the latter of whom serves as the team's top glass cleaner with 6.3 rpg. As a team, Purdue is hitting 42.3 percent of its total shots, but just 31.6 percent of its 3-point tries. Foes are successful just 38.3 percent of the time on their field goal attempts, which includes a 30.9 percent showing from downtown. The resulting scoring averages come in at 66.8 ppg for Purdue, and 61.1 ppg for the opposition.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. poured in 21 points and Trey Burke nearly logged a double- double with 18 points and nine assists, both efforts helping Michigan secure its eight-point win over Minnesota last Thursday. The Wolverines shot a sizzling 54.9 percent from the field, knocking down 10-of-20 3-point tries while converting 17-of-25 free throws. Nik Stauskas tacked on 11 points for Michigan which kept pace near the top of the Big Ten standings with the victory. Burke (18.0 ppg, 7.2 apg), Hardaway, Jr. (16.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Stauskas (12.6 ppg) and Glenn Robinson III (12.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg) have all had their hand in the team reaching the lofty heights it has this season. Collectively, the Wolverines are netting 79.3 ppg while allowing just 59.5 ppg -- their +19.8 scoring margin ranking fourth-best in the country. Additionally, UM ranks in the top five in fouls (12.1, first), assist-to- turnover ratio (1.65, third), turnovers (9.7, fourth) and field goal percentage (.510, fourth). The team's .410 3-point percentage ranks eighth.