WEST LAFAYETTE- #17 Purdue hosted the struggling Northwestern Wildcats on Tuesday evening.
Purdue had a huge win last week and a let down Saturday and needed to get back on track before the looming match up Saturday night against the Hoosiers.
Both teams struggled early on and at the first TV timeout the Boilers were up just 6 to 0. Then Purdue began to hit their stride. Purdue got their lead all the way up to 14 at one point, leading 35 to 21 in the first half. Per usual, Northwestern clawed back into it, cutting the lead to just 8 at the half, with Purdue up 35-27.
AJ Hammons had a solid first half, tallying 11 points and 8 rebounds.
Without that contribution, Purdue most likely would have trailed at the break.
Caleb Swanigan struggled in the paint, going 2-8 from the field in the first half missing four of those shots down low.
For Northwestern, their leading scorer, Tre Demps led the way with 10 first half points. Northwestern struggled with the fouls underneath, as their senior Center Alex Olah spent most of his time on the bench with 2 early fouls.
To start the second half the Boilermakers were dismal and at one point were on a 5 minute scoring drought.
Northwestern trimmed the lead all the way to four points. Purdue forced Northwestern to foul four times on one possession. After that Purdue was in the bonus the rest of the way, starting around the 13 minute mark.
It seems after Purdue went to the bonus, they were at the line the rest of the game. Haas went 4 for 5 & Hammons 8 for 11, taking advantage of the line. Overall, the Boilers shot 20 more free throws than the Wildcats, quite the disparity.
It was a good thing that Purdue got into the bonus early, as they struggled the entire second half. To go with the early 5 minute drought in the second half, they also went a stretch where they went 1 of 12 from the field. If not for the early half bonus, Purdue could have surrendered the lead.
Late in the second half, a barrage of three pointers from Ryan Cline and energy from Johnny Hill propelled the Boilers to a lead of 64-50. The fifth- year senior and true freshman combined for 26 points off the bench. Particularly in the second half, they gave Purdue the spark they needed during a desperate times. In the above video, you can see Ryan Cline and Johnny Hill reflect on their big-time three-point baskets.
Per usual, the Wildcats made a late run, cutting the lead back to 7 points. Lead by sophomore Point Guard Bryant McIntosh. After a late spurt Purdue closed Northwestern out, lead by senior AJ Hammons, notching another double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, improving to 21-6 (9-5). This was a huge victory for the Boilermakers with IU on the horizon.
Purdue travels to Bloomington for this year’s only matchup on Saturday.
The Boilers swept IU last season and the Hoosiers will look for revenge at 8:30 PM on ESPN.
Look for a battle to determine which team is the best in the state.
Enjoy some photos from the game!
Follow Kyle on Twitter, @K_Holderfield