Penn State vs. Purdue Preview
The Nittany Lions have certainly had their ups and downs through 17 games this season going 2-3 in their last five games. The Lions (10-7, 1-3 Big Ten), have had opportunities to prove themselves, including a game against Big Ten foe Maryland, in which they held a late lead but blew in the final minutes. On Wednesday Pat Chambers and his crew will have another chance to prove themselves against the No. 24 Purdue Boilermakers. The Nittany Lions will need to keep their composure in the hostile Mackey Arena.
Penn State travels to West Lafayette, Indiana for the first game of a short two-game road trip. The Nittany Lions will need their three leading scorers (Brandon Taylor, Shep Garner, and Payton Banks) to continue to improve on their scoring but may have a tough time against the Boilermakers 13th-ranked scoring defense. Taylor is one of just three Big Ten players to rank in the top ten in both scoring and rebounding.
The last time these two teams faced off was in Chicago in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals last season. DJ Newbill recorded 19 points for the Nittany Lions, but Purdue ended Penn State’s run with a 64-59 overtime victory. Penn State hasn’t traveled to West Lafayette since 2014, but hasn’t beaten the Boilermakers on the road since Feb. 18, 2006 by a score of 69-60. Purdue leads the series 32-12 over Penn State.
In a team comparison, the Nittany Lions only lead in one category, steals per game, and will need to shut down AJ Hammons who leads the team in scoring and also averages 7.8 rebounds per game. Through 17 games this season Purdue is 14-3 overall with two losses coming in Big Ten play. Purdue has also won two games in Big Ten play with wins coming over Wisconsin and Michigan, but losses coming to Iowa and Illinois on the road, 84-70 on Monday.
In addition to a No. 13 scoring defense, Purdue also leads the country in field goal percentage defense, ranked 13 in rebound margin and 34 in 3-point percentage defense. Offensively, Purdue’s bench outscores opposing benches by 357 points, averaging 21 points per game. The reserves have outscored the starting five in six games this season.
This week marks the tenth straight week that Purdue has been ranked in the Top 25 with the season best No. 9 ranking coming Dec. 14.
Following Wednesday’s game against the Boilermakers, Penn State travels to Evanston, Illinois to take on Northwestern to conclude the brief road trip.
Brandon Pelter is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.