GAME NOTES: The Big Ten/ACC Challenge continues on Wednesday night, as the Purdue Boilermakers and Boston College Eagles meet at Mackey Arena.
Boston College began its season with losses in four of its first five bouts, which included setbacks to nationally-ranked foes Massachusetts (86-73) and Connecticut (72-70). Since that slow start, however, the Eagles have improved to 3-4 with back-to-back wins, taking down Washington at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 22 as part of the 2K Sports Classic (89-78) before returning home to defeat Sacred Heart on Nov. 26, 75-67, in overtime.
Purdue most recently took part in the Old Spice Classic last weekend in Orlando, Florida, and after suffering losses to Oklahoma State (97-87) and Washington State (69-54) in the early rounds, it salvaged its trip with a 68-63 win over Siena in Sunday's seventh-place game. The Boilermakers, who have won four straight Big Ten/ACC challenge matchups in recent years, are now 6-2 on the season.
Purdue has won both previous meetings in the all-time series, most recently winning on a neutral court in November of 2008, 71-64.
The Eagles appeared in trouble against Sacred Heart in their last game, as they trailed by seven at the half, but they battled back to force overtime and took care of business in the extra session to escape with the win. What the squad lacked in prowess from beyond the arc (5-of-23) it made up for with a busy, efficient night at the free-throw line (26-of-32). Ryan Anderson was outstanding with 28 points on 8-of-13 from the field and 12-of-14 at the stripe, and he added 11 rebounds to boot. Joe Rahon was also stellar with 19 points, while Olivier Hanlan chipped in 15 points. Boston College, which scores exactly the same amount of points per game as it allows (79.9), is led by the efforts of Hanlan (21.7 ppg) and Anderson (19.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg). Rahon (13.4 ppg) can also be relied upon on a consistent basis, but no one else scores more than six points per contest.
The Boilermakers had their hands full with Siena the last time out, as they found themselves down by as many as 16 early in the second half, but they used a late surge to pull away. Despite shooting a modest 41.5 percent from the field on the day, they helped themselves with a strong 21-of-26 showing from the free-throw line and only committed 11 turnovers to the Saints' 16. A.J. Hammons provided a spark off the bench with 16 points, nine rebounds and six blocks, while Ronnie Johnson netted 13 points on 11-of-12 from the stripe. Jay Simpson and Terone Johnson added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Purdue has run out to an impressive record by living in the black with its scoring (+7.1), rebounding (+2.1) and turnover (+2.3) margins, while shooting an impressive 45.1 percent from the field. Ronnie (12.8 ppg) and Terone Johnson (12.6 ppg) are the catalysts, while Bryson Scott comes off the bench to net 10.5 points per game. Hammons (8.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg) is a difference-maker on defense with 4.1 blocks per tilt.
Boston College has been a fickle squad this season and simply cannot be trusted on the road, especially against a well-rounded Purdue squad that has played very well at Mackey Arena.
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