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Underdog Boilers Look To Make History at Big Ten Tournament

March 12, 2014


March 11, 2014


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BIG TEN TOURNAMENT | GAME 32 | PURDUE (15-16) vs. [24 | 24] Ohio State (23-8)
Thursday, March 13, 2014 | Approx. 2:30 PM (ET)
Indianapolis, Ind. | Banker's Life Fieldhouse (18,165)
BTN (Kevin Kugler, Stephen Bardo, Stephanie White)
Radio: Purdue Sports Network (Larry Clisby, Rob Blackman)
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS (91), XM (91)
National Radio: Compass Media Networks (Drew Bontadelli, Mike Wozniak)
Gametracker: PurdueSports.com

Underdog Boilers Look To Make History at Big Ten Tournament
The 12th-seeded Purdue men's basketball team (15-16) looks to make history in this weekend's Big Ten Tournament, trying to become the first team seeded seventh or lower to win the Big Ten Tournament. The Boilermakers will begin play in Thursday afternoon's first round against fifth-seeded and 24th-ranked Ohio State at 2:30 p.m (ET) at Banker's Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

The contest will be televised by the Big Ten Network and BTN2Go (online) with Kevin Kugler and Stephen Bardo providing expert analysis with former Purdue great and 1999 NCAA National Champion Stephanie White serving as the sideline reporter.

Larry Clisby, in his 31st season calling games for the Boilermakers, will be joined by Rob Blackman on the Purdue Sports Network for the radio call. Compass Media Networks and SIRIUS and XM (Ch. 91) Satellite Radio will handle the national call with Drew Bontadelli and Mike Wozniak on the nationwide radio call.

Live stats via Gametracker will be available on PurdueSports.com, and Twitter updates will be provided on Twitter.com (@BoilerBall).

About the Buckeyes
Ohio State enters the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 5 seed after posting a 23-8 record and a 10-8 mark in the Big Ten race. The Buckeyes are coming off a 69-67 Senior Day victory over Michigan State which halted a two-game losing streak (at Penn State, at Indiana). The Buckeyes started the season 15-0 and were ranked as high as No. 3 in the country before losing five of their next six games to fall to 16-5 overall. Ohio State then rambled off six wins in its next seven games, before its current three-game stretch (1-2).

The Buckeyes come into the tournament as the top defensive team in the conference, allowing just 59.1 points per game, almost four points better than the No. 2-ranked scoring defense squad (Illinois - 62.8). The Buckeyes allow foes to shoot just 40.3 percent from the field and just 28.6 percent from long distance. Offensively, Ohio State is averaging 70.0 points per game and shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 33.4 percent from beyond the arc.

A pair of Buckeyes earned third-team All-Big Ten accolades as LaQuinton Ross and Aaron Craft, the conference's Defensive Player of the Year, both were named on the squad. Ross leads Ohio State in scoring at 14.8 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game. Lenzelle Smith, Jr., averages 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, while Craft contributes 9.5 points, 4.6 assists and 2.5 steals per outing.

About the Boilermakers
Purdue looks to rebound from a rough 2013-14 season with a magical run to the Big Ten Tournament crown, entering the event with a 15-16 overall record and a 5-13 Big Ten mark. The Boilermakers have lost six games in a row with the last four of the setbacks coming by a combined 23 points (1, 7, 6 and 9 points).

Purdue has struggled mightily on the defensive end, allowing foes to average 71.9 points per game, the team's highest average since the 1997-98 team allowed 72.3 points per game. Six straight opponents have scored at least 74 points, the first time six straight opponents have scored 70 or more points since Dec. 2002. In 31 games this year, Purdue has allowed opponents to score 70 points in 19-of-31 games (6-13 record). By contrast Purdue is 9-3 when holding foes to 69 or fewer points.

Terone Johnson leads three players in double figures by averaging 12.0 points per game. Ronnie Johnson follows at 10.8 points and 3.7 assists while A.J. Hammons is next at 10.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. Hammons was named an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection and to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team, while freshman Kendall Stephens(7.9 ppg, 63 3-ptrs.) was honored on the All-Freshman Team.

The Five Things To Watch
1) Purdue is second (Big Ten games only) in rebounding margin (+4.9); Ohio State is 11th (-2.8). Purdue owns +6.0 margin vs. OSU.
2) Purdue is 11th in turnover margin (-2.50); Ohio State is first (+2.61). Ohio State has 13 TOs in two games, Purdue has 27.
3) LaQuinton Ross is averaging 21.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in 2 games vs. Purdue this year; season avg. is 14.8 ppg and 5.5 rpg.
4) A.J. Hammons averaged 14.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in two games; had 26 field goal attempts in the two games.
5) Purdue is just 1-5 in its last six games at Banker's Life Fieldhouse since the 2011 Big Ten Tournament.

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