You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Purdue University

  • Purdue puts best on field despite age
    Ponce de Leon spent years searching for the elusive Fountain of Youth, stumbling upon present-day Florida. If only he had ventured north to West Lafayette, Indiana.
  • South Side product set for big year
    When Purdue players look to the bench, they know they can confer with coach Matt Painter and his assistants. On the court, there’s Rapheal Davis.
  • Painful loss for Boilers
    Purdue has made great strides in turning around its football program. But the Boilermakers were given a painful reminder on Saturday that there’s still room to improve.
Advertisement
Purdue
vs. Michigan State
When: 7 p.m. today
TV: ESPN
Radio: 1380 AM, 1480 AM

Boilers face tough road to finish their season

– Purdue coach Matt Painter said he hopes his team’s most dominant win in Big Ten play is just the start to a strong finish.

The Boilermakers (15-10, 5-7) throttled rival Indiana 82-64 Saturday, and they play host to conference co-leader No. 13 Michigan State (21-5, 10-3) tonight.

“Any time you can have a good win like we did Saturday, you want to be able to build on it,” Painter said. “This is an important game for both teams. Hopefully, we can keep our focus on our next opponent and continue to make improvements.”

Painter is also confident his team will not get caught looking ahead even though the final five games of the season could raise the Boilermakers’ chances to land in a postseason tournament.

After Michigan State, Purdue plays Sunday at Nebraska, which upset the Spartans 60-51 last weekend, then the Boilermakers face No. 20 Michigan on Wednesday, No. 15 Iowa on March 1 and No. 16 Wisconsin on March 5 before finishing the season against Northwestern on March 9.

“No matter what the scenario is ,you have to keep your focus in the moment and that next game,” Painter said. “Michigan State is a very good team. I don’t know how you could not be locked into them.”

Michigan State is also a healthier team coming in.

The Spartans will still be without forward Braden Dawson because of a broken right wrist. The Gary native has averaged 15.8 points and 7 rebounds in four games against the Boilermakers.

But guard Keith Appling, who struggled through 19 minutes against Nebraska as he returned from a right wrist injury, appears healthy again after a strong practice Tuesday, according to the Detroit Free Press. Appling averages 14.4 points and 4.7 assists.

Michigan State also has a healthy Adreian Payne. The forward missed seven games with a foot injury and has averaged 18.3 points and 9.8 rebounds since returning in a win over Penn State on Feb. 6.

“They’ve won some really good games and not had all the bullets in their gun, and they still don’t,” Painter said. “They keep plugging, and they are still on top of the league, that’s a credit to them.”

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo also said his team cannot overlook Purdue, even with a showdown with co-conference leader Michigan coming up Sunday.

“I think Purdue has been a funny team this year,” Izzo said. “The one thing that (Painter’s) teams do is they play so hard all the time. I think he has changed some things from the (former Purdue coach Gene) Keady era, but the one thing he’s kept is those teams play hard and physical.

“They are coming off maybe one of their best wins, and if you look at their year, they’ve lost some close games. They’ve been right there.”

Note: Purdue will honor former Boilermakers star Glenn Robinson tonight, and the first 3,000 fans will receive Robinson bobbleheads.

tkrausz@jg.net

Advertisement