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December 1, 2012

Game 7: Xavier

Now we'll find out just what the win at Clemson meant for Purdue?

Will the big road win serve as the spark this inexperienced Boilermaker team needed to get going? Or will its penchant for inconsistency remain?

Saturday's home game against Xavier might offer answers.

When the Boilermakers host the Musketeers at 2:15 p.m., they'll be looking to build on success.

"I think our confidence has gone up going into this game," point guard Ronnie Johnson said. "That game, it did a lot for us."

Xavier, per usual, will offer a stiff test.

The Musketeers are an almost entirely different team than the one Purdue melted down against in the final minutes of a 66-63 loss at the Cintas Center.

But X is known for its toughness year after year and this year will be no different.

"It'll be a hard-fought game," big man Travis Carroll said. "We let one slip away last year. We got that win at Clemson. We have to forget about that now and get this win now at home.

"The Clemson game was a good win for us. We worked really hard in practice to get our offense fixed and moving better. It worked pretty well."

Projected Lineups
(And we're guessing.)
G: Terone Johnson
G: Anthony Johnson
F: D.J. Byrd
F: Jacob Lawson
C: A.J. Hammons

F: Travis Taylor (6-8, 216, Sr.)
F: Justin Martin (6-6, 205, So.)
F: Jeff Robinson (6-10, 225, Sr.)
G: Semaj Christon (6-3, 187, Fr.)
G: Dee Davis (6-0, 161, So.)

Xavier comes in at 5-1, highlighted by a 62-47 win over Butler at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati … Senior Jeff Robinson, a former Purdue signee in the Class of 2009, is averaging 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds. He's a first-year starter. … In the off-season, X lost its best player, Dez Wells, to expulsion. He's now at Maryland. … No, Butch Jones was not on the Musketeers' flight in from Cincinnati. …Guard Dee Davis, a Bloomington native, leads the Musketeers at 14.3 points per game and has been highly efficient, shooting 56 percent from the field; 52 percent from three-point range; and 81 percent from the foul line. … Xavier has five guys averaging in double-figures. … As a team, X is shooting an impressive 53.6 percent with each of its starters shooting no worse than Semaj Christon's 51 percent.

About Purdue: Roster | Schedule | Statistics (2011-12)

About Xavier: Roster | Schedule | Statistics

Broadcast Info
Game time: 2:15 p.m.
Radio: Purdue Sports Network (95.7 FM locally)
TV: Big Ten Network
Internet: GoldandBlack.com subscribers can follow along live with our in-game blog, "Game Day Live."

Five things to think about
1. In a season of ups and downs thus far, can Purdue put two quality games together back-to-back? Consistency remains an issue for this group in the season's early stages.

2. Xavier isn't as big inside as it was last season, when it had Kenny Frease and Andre Walker in the paint. Can the Musketeers match up with A.J. Hammons inside? Can Purdue exploit his size inside?

3. Can D.J. Byrd have one of those wild shooting games at home? Not expecting it to happen in this particular game but it is sort of strange that all of the senior's extraordinary shooting games - Ohio State and Minnesota last year; Clemson this year - have all come away from Mackey Arena.

4. Can Purdue rebound like it did in the first half at Clemson ever again? That was unprecedented and it wasn't the bigs who were doing it. It was everyone.

5. Game conditions had something to do with it at Clemson, but Purdue still needs to cut down its turnovers. Saturday would be a good time to do it.

GoldandBlack.com Prediction: Purdue should be feeling good about itself after playing well in an encouraging road win. In a matchup between two fairly evenly matched teams, that intangible, coupled with homecourt advantage, gives the Boilermakers the slight nod here.

Purdue 70, Xavier 65

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