Purdue’s plan is to limit opponents to 25 points each half. If the Boilermakers need a blueprint on how to accomplish this against Boston College, all they have to do is look at the tape of the Eagles’ last game.
The 10th-ranked Boilermakers look for their first 5-0 start since 2003-04 on Wednesday night when they face Boston College in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden.
Purdue won its fourth straight by 20 or more points on Saturday, 66-46 against Coppin State. Despite looking forward to two games in New York City, the Boilermakers again showcased their stellar defensive skills by holding Coppin State to 30.0 percent shooting and 22 first-half points.
“This game was definitely tough to focus on,” guard Chris Kramer said. “We have a big tournament coming up. Everybody’s looking forward to that.”
Purdue, which has held opponents to 32.9 percent field goal shooting, has limited three teams to 22 points in the opening 20 minutes this season.
While the Boilermakers allow only 50.0 points per game, Boston College (3-1) is shooting 45.7 percent from the floor and averaging 75.5 points.
Offensively, Purdue had its worst game of the season on Saturday. The Boilermakers shot a season-low 38.2 percent from the field, including 27.3 percent from 3-point range, and tied a season high with 13 turnovers.
Sophomore forward Robbie Hummel, though, had his best performance thus far. The preseason Big Ten player of the year, who averaged less than 20 minutes per game during the 3-0 start due to foul trouble, posted his first double-double of the season - and sixth of his career - with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
“He did some good things tonight,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “It was good for him, and good for the fans. He just needs to play and get some minutes.”
Hummel is averaging a team-best 16.3 points.
Sophomore guard E’Twaun Moore, second on Purdue with 14.8 points per game, had 10 points and set season highs with eight rebounds and three blocks Saturday. He leads the team with 6.3 boards per game.
Prior to Saturday’s 53-50 loss to St. Louis, Boston College had dominated its opponents on the boards. After outrebounding their first three opponents by an average of 11.3 - and winning by an average of 20.0 points - the Eagles lost their first game while getting outrebounded 43-32.
Corey Raji - the Eagles’ leading rebounder at 6.8 per game - had team highs with 22 points and seven boards versus the Billikens, who held Boston College to 33.3 percent shooting.
Senior guard Tyrese Rice, who is 36 points shy of tying Howard Eisley for 13th place on Boston College’s all-time scoring list (1,628), missed 12 of 14 shots and scored a season-low six points against St. Louis. It was the second-worst shooting game of his career with at least 10 field goal attempts after shooting 1-of-11 and scoring five in a 57-55 win against Northeastern on Dec. 22, 2007.
In these teams’ only previous meeting, Purdue defeated Boston College 82-54 in the first round of the Rainbow Classic on Dec. 28, 1978.
The winner of this game plays either No. 11 Oklahoma or UAB on Friday afternoon for the tournament championship.