No. 8 Purdue aims to shake off setbacks, hosts Indiana
No. 8 Purdue and Indiana have endured their share of heartbreaking losses during the 2021-22 season.
The Big Ten rivals will try to head into the postseason with some positive momentum on Saturday afternoon when they clash in West Lafayette, Ind.
Purdue (24-6, 13-6 Big Ten), which has lost two in a row, fell short of its goal of a Big Ten regular-season title following a 70-67 setback to Wisconsin on Tuesday. Badgers freshman Chucky Hepburn banked in a go-ahead 3-pointer with three seconds remaining.
"That's the nature of competition," Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said. "You've got to sit in it. If you sit in it and you care, now you bounce back, and you are better because of it."
Purdue will look to regroup at home, where it is 15-1 this season.
Jaden Ivey is averaging a team-best 17.4 points per game for the Boilermakers, while Zach Edey is contributing 14.9 points and a club-high 7.5 rebounds.
"The bad piece would be if this was the end for us," Painter said. "This isn't the end for us. So now we've got another Big Ten game, we've got the Big Ten tournament. We've beaten a lot of good people, we've had some tough losses, but it's part of it, make your team, make each individual stronger."
The Boilermakers have been among the best offensive teams in the Big Ten this season, ranking second in the conference in scoring (81.1 ppg) and first in field goal percentage (50.1 percent). But Purdue has struggled at the other end of the court, ranking ninth in the Big Ten in scoring defense (68.8 ppg).
Like Purdue, Indiana (18-11, 9-10) is coming off a heartbreaking loss, falling 66-63 to Rutgers on a 3-pointer by Ron Harper Jr. with two seconds remaining.
The Hoosiers are in desperate need of a win to revive their NCAA Tournament hopes. Indiana snapped a nine-game losing streak against Purdue with a 68-65 victory at home on Jan. 20.
"If we go down to Purdue and win a big game there, it puts us back in the mix," Indiana coach Mike Woodson said. "We're going to have to win some games probably in the (Big Ten) tournament as well, but it's not over. We've got to keep fighting."
Indiana has gone 2-6 in its last eight games overall, with three of the losses coming after it held leads at halftime. The Hoosiers are 3-5 in games decided by five points or fewer this season.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, who scored 19 points in the Rutgers loss, is averaging a team-high 17.5 points per game for the Hoosiers.
"Obviously, we're not finishing games," Jackson-Davis said. "But at the same time, we're in every game. It just comes down to the last, almost the last four minutes of the game. You've got to get that one stop. You've got to get that one possession because one possession can beat you."
--Field Level Media
Updated March 3, 2022