Purdue won one Big Ten rematch by handling No. 10 Wisconsin, 70-62 on Wednesday night.
The next rematch is Sunday. And it’s a biggie.
The No. 11 Boilermakers (21-5 overall, 10-3 in Big Ten) moved into second place behind No. 2 Ohio State, which comes to town Sunday. The last time these two played, the Buckeyes posted an 87-64 win that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.
This time around, it could be different for a few reasons.
Take Lewis Jackson. The junior point guard scored 18 points and dished five assists vs. the Badgers. He hit 6 of 9 shots and didn’t have turnover in 31 minutes. Barely two weeks ago, Jackson had one point in Purdue’s loss to Wisconsin. He outplayed Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor, who just had a nifty game of his own.
“They just told me earlier today I had to be special, whether that was getting a lot of assists, shutting down Jordan Taylor or scoring the ball,” Jackson said afterward.
Meanwhile, JaJuan Johnson (20 points, 10 boards, four blocks) and E’Twaun Moore (19 points) were their usual stellar selves as Purdue had just five turnovers.
Even better, they improved to 14-0 at home this season. And in a game where the home team usually wins – Wisconsin just showed as much vs. Ohio State – that’s a crucial aspect.
Purdue’s on a roll right now. It’s not by some miracle coaching or luck. It’s team that sports some impressive offense, an even better defense and has All-American talent in Moore and Johnson who are playing like it.
The records and reputations may not show it, but Sunday’s game will be a toss-up.
And it pays to be the home team in that situation.
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