Purdue looks to avoid hangover after Indiana rout
By Michael Osipoff 648-3137 or firstname.lastname@example.org February 1, 2013 6:30PM
Updated: March 3, 2013 6:14AM
After the worst home loss in program history. To the archrival, no less.
After matching the most points allowed in a game under the current coach.
Against an unorthodox opponent that typically has caused problems for a veteran team, let alone a younger one?
Purdue could be in a precarious position for Saturday’s game at Northwestern, after its historic rout at the hands of Indiana.
“Yesterday is gone, it’s over, we can’t get it back, so just work hard, go to Northwestern, and beat them,” freshman Rapheal Davis said.
Still, coach Matt Painter didn’t necessarily want the Boilermakers (11-10, 4-4 Big Ten) to forget their game against the Hoosiers as they prepare for the Wildcats (12-10, 3-6), instead using it as another learning experience.
“We have some very important, really staples of the game, to understand or to fix in terms of playing hard and also playing smart,” he said. “For our team, they just tried to do it by themselves. We played selfish basketball. And we got exactly what we deserved.”
Purdue actually has won its last four games against Northwestern, and nine of its last 11. But the Wildcats, with their Princeton-style offense and multiple defenses, generally have given the Boilermakers headaches.
“They make you change how you defend,” said Painter, noting having played William & Mary, a 73-66 win on Dec. 29, could prove to be beneficial for Purdue. “That adjustment in a short amount of time is going to be difficult.”
Said senior swingman D.J. Byrd: “The biggest thing is to be able to change up our defense a little bit. There are some different concepts we normally do certain games that go out the window against them. … For the new guys, it’s important they pay attention.”
Dealing with Northwestern’s defense could be even more of an issue for Purdue, which obviously has struggled with its decision-making this season, at times just to make simple passes. In the past, the Wildcats’ 1-3-1 zone has been particularly puzzling for the Boilermakers. But they also employ a switching man-to-man, matchup zone and a more traditional man-to-man.
“You have to be prepared for everything and not give one thing too much time,” Painter said.
Reggie Hearn leads Northwestern with 13.7 points per game. Dave Sobolewski averages 11.2 points and 4.2 assists; and Jared Swopshire, a transfer from Louisville, averages 9.6 and 6.6 rebounds. In mid-December, the Wildcats announced that standout senior swingman Drew Crawford would miss the rest of the season to undergo surgery for a torn labrum in his right shoulder, after junior guard JerShon Cobb was suspended for the season before it started.
Against Northwestern, the Boilermakers will try to avoid a Hoosiers hangover.
“It was just really disappointing,” Byrd said. “It was one of the worst losses I’ve ever taken here at Purdue, especially for it to be against IU. … We have to have a good couple practices, and realize we have more games to play.”