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February 26, 2013

Game 28: Iowa

Last time Purdue faced Iowa, it dominated the first half defensively, then let a second half lead slip before winning in overtime.

When the Boilermakers face the Hawkeyes again tonight at 8:30 p.m. in Iowa City, it'll look for a similar result, though it won't be easy.

Iowa is 6-8 in the Big Ten, same as Purdue, and coming off a loss at Nebraska.

But the Hawkeyes are still a team with NCAA Tournament hopes, however maimed they may have been by the loss to the Cornhuskers, and have been very good at home.

Iowa's won its last five Big Ten games in Carver-Hawkeye Arena after losing a pair of very close games to Indiana and Michigan State to open the conference. You've seen what the Hoosiers and Spartans have gone on to do since those games.

But Purdue has had success against the Hawkeyes.

In Mackey Arena in Round 1, it kept Iowa to just 16 points and 15-percent shooting in the first half.

"It was about keeping their guards out of rhythm, while also not letting their bigs get going," Purdue guard Terone Johnson said. "We kind of put a target on (Roy Devyn) Marble and (Aaron) White early in the game to try to get those guys stopped."

Those two players were a combined for 6-of-22 shooting, but freshman Mike Gesell scored 18 and helped lead Iowa's comeback. The Hawkeyes trailed by 10 with 7:49 left but rallied to be up three with 2:19 remaining, before Purdue forced OT and won it in the extra session.

Style of play will be an interesting dynamic Wednesday night.

"They've been able to play small, but they've also played big, kind of searching for the right mix of guys on each given night, which has been the question at times," Coach Matt Painter said. "Right now they're playing a little bigger. They did that some through the course of our game, and they started that way. They've changed some in how they've played and how many minutes they played each one of those guys. Searching for the right mix has really been the question for them, and that's from an outsider looking in."

In the first meeting, game conditions were such that forward Donnie Hale was able to play his best game of the season. Purdue would not have won without his 12 points and clutch offensive rebounding in the game's final minutes.

Purdue is a different team than it was then, though. Since beating Iowa, which at the time was the Boilermakers' fourth win in five games, it has gone 2-6.

But Sunday's blowout win over struggling Northwestern was a positive sign, especially offensively, as Purdue moved the ball and functioned with cohesiveness more so than it has at any other point this Big Ten season.

"One of the things we've been trying to do is just move the ball on offense and just get all five guys involved," senior D.J. Byrd said. "The inside-out game really opens things up for Ronnie (Johnson) and Terone. Terone's been shooting the ball pretty well. We just want to do a variety of things."

Terone Johnson's coming off one of his best games of the season after scoring 22 against Northwestern. He played well against Iowa in Round 1 also.

"Just take it as an example," Johnson said of the Northwestern game, "that if we move the ball around, we can be consistent in scoring if we just do what we're supposed to do."

But this Iowa game will come down to other things, also.

"We have to execute what we need to do," Byrd said, "and we have to play harder than them and just out-want them, because that's what we have to do the rest of the season."

Projected Lineups
G: Terone Johnson
G: Ronnie Johnson
F: D.J. Byrd
F: Rapheal Davis
C: A.J. Hammons

G: Mike Gesell (6-1, 185, Fr.)
G: Roy Devyn Marble (6-6, 194, Jr.)
F: Melsahn Basabe (6-7, 221, Jr.)
F: Aaron White (6-8, 219, So.)
C: Adam Woodbury (7-1, 235, Fr.)

The Hawkeyes led at Nebraska by as many as 19 in the first half, before falling 64-60. … Marble is hot, averaging 19 points per game in the past four games. … The play of freshman center Adam Woodbury has been a hot topic around Iowa City as the former blue-chip recruit is starting, but playing minimal minutes, much of the time due to foul trouble. … Iowa's the fourth-highest scoring team in the Big Ten in league play, averaging 67 points. … Iowa has made a conference-best 73.2 percent of its foul shots in Big Ten play, but is shooting less than 40 percent collectively and just 28.6 percent from three-point range, second-worst in the conference.

About Purdue: Roster | Schedule | Statistics

About Iowa: Roster | | Statistics

Broadcast Info
Game time: 8:30 p.m.
Radio: Purdue Sports Network (95.7 FM locally)
Internet: GoldandBlack.com subscribers can follow along live with our in-game blog, "Game Day Live."

Things to think about

1. Was the Northwestern game a sign of progress for Purdue or a mirage created by an injury-riddled opponent combined with an atypically hot shooting game for the Boilermakers?

2. Can Terone Johnson again keep Marble in check? The Iowa leading scorer was 2-of-11 in the first game. He has a significant height advantage and Johnson will have to work to keep him out of the post.

3. Will Purdue be the more physical team? That's been important in recent meetings with the Hawkeyes.

GoldandBlack.com Prediction: Iowa's coming off a brutal loss, but will welcome the sight of its home venue, where it's been very tough this season. The Boilermakers are coming off a very good performance themselves, but we'll see whether what transpired against Northwestern has any staying power.

Iowa 67, Purdue 62

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