William & Mary (7-3) at Purdue (5-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 29, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mackey Arena (14,846) -- West Lafayette, Indiana. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: William & Mary 4-1, Purdue 4-2. Away Record: William & Mary 3-2, Purdue 1-1. Neutral Record: William & Mary 0-0, Purdue 0-3. Conference Record: William & Mary 1-0, Purdue 0-0. Series Record: Purdue leads, 1-0.
GAMES NOTES: The Purdue Boilermakers will hope to build off a win in their last game before the holiday break when they host the William & Mary Tribe at Mackey Arena on Saturday.
The Tribe took down Division III foe Salisbury (82-49) last time out to earn a fourth straight win which is the longest streak for the Tribe since the 2009-10 season. The Tribe are now 7-3 overall this season, including a 3-2 mark in true road games. Next up for William & Mary is a trip to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt.
On the other side, Purdue topped Ball State (66-56) back on Dec. 18 and has not hit the court since. The win was just the second in the last five games for the Boilermakers. Purdue is a pedestrian 5-6 this season but has had more success at home where the Boilermakers are 4-2 this year. Up next Purdue begins Big Ten play against No. 12 Illinois.
This is just the second meeting all-time between these squads. Purdue won the first matchup with a 75-58 victory during the 2001-02 season.
Though it came against a Division III foe, William & Mary had a strong showing against Salisbury. The Tribe knocked down 55.4 percent of their shots from the floor and outscored Salisbury 33-9 from beyond the arc. The Tribe also had a sizable advantage on the glass with a 42-25 edge in rebounds. Kyle Gaillard and Marcus Thornton led the way with 15 points each.
Based on the first 10 games of the season, William & Mary has been the best offensive team in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Tribe lead the conference in scoring (70.8 ppg), assists (14.0 pg) and field-goal percentage (.486). The Tribe have also been playing well on defense by holding foes to 62.7 points per game on just 38.5 percent shooting. Thornton (18.0 ppg) has been one of the major reasons for the offensive success. He is currently the third-highest scorer in the CAA. Brandon Britt (15.0 ppg) and Tim Rusthoven (14.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg) are also scoring at high levels, while Gaillard (9.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg) has shown flashes of offensive ability.
Four players scored in double figures for Purdue, which held Ball State to just 34.6 percent shooting in the most recent win. Purdue also outscored the Cardinals 17-7 in points off turnovers and 28-18 in points in the paint. Freshman A.J. Hammons netted a team-high 15 points for the Boilermakers.
Purdue has not had the same level of offensive success as William & Mary this year. The Boilermakers are scoring 66.6 points per game hitting on 41.7 percent of their shots from the field. Both those marks are among the worst in the Big Ten. Purdue has managed to play well defensively by limiting opponents to 60.5 points per game. The Boilermakers are also a team that crashes the boards well, ranking 16th in the nation in rebounding (42.2 pg). Terone Johnson (12.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.0 apg) leads the team in scoring and assists. Hammons (9.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg) has had a good start to his rookie campaign and is the top rebounder, while versatile swingman D.J. Byrd (9.5 ppg) contributes across the board.
Although William & Mary looks like an improved team on paper the schedule has featured a number of games against lower level competition. Purdue might not be one of the best teams in the Big Ten but the Boilermakers are good enough on defense and the boards to put a stop to the Tribe's winning streak.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Purdue 74, William & Mary 65
12/29 10:38:47 ET