February 03, 2015

Purdue coach Matt Painter anticipated having an advantage in the paint and on the glass when freshman big man Caleb Swanigan committed to join 7-footers A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas.

It's safe to say the last two performances exceeded even his expectations.

Back-to-back blowouts have the 22nd-ranked Boilermakers feeling confident again as they look to beat visiting Ohio State for just the second time in nine meetings Thursday night.

Purdue (16-3, 4-2 Big Ten) ranks among the national leaders with a plus-12.6 average rebound differential and has outrebounded every opponent this season. The 6-foot-9 Swanigan leads the conference with 8.9 boards per game and grabbed 13 to go along with 12 points in Monday's 107-57 romp at Rutgers.

The Boilermakers held a 63-23 rebounding advantage while posting their most lopsided win ever in Big Ten play. Hammons and Haas combined for 11 rebounds in limited duty as Purdue's starters didn't play for the final 14 minutes.

Painter's team committed only four turnovers, its fewest since having three against Indiana on Feb. 4, 2012.

''We wanted to make an effort to try to get on the glass and establish ourselves there,'' Painter said. ''Our guys gave a great effort and showed a lot of discipline not having a turnover the first half."

In their previous game, the Boilermakers outrebounded Penn State 42-25 in a 74-57 victory last Wednesday, recovering from a surprising 84-70 loss Jan. 10 to an Illinois team that still has only one victory in conference play.

Swanigan had 13 points and nine rebounds against the Nittany Lions, then posted his sixth double-double against the Scarlet Knights to tie for the Big Ten lead.

''I feel like things were going our way (Monday),'' Swanigan said. ''As a team it might have been our best game as a whole entire unit. It's easy to agree with that because the whole team played well and we can just keep feeding off this.''

Ohio State (12-7, 4-2) also routed Rutgers recently, but that win has been bookended by blowout defeats. It fell 85-60 at now-No. 25 Indiana on Jan. 10 and had no answer for then-No. 3 Maryland's offense in a 100-65 loss Saturday.

The Terrapins shot 62.7 percent from the field, the highest the Buckeyes have allowed since Michigan State shot 73.3 percent Feb. 7, 2004. Ohio State trailed by as many as 42 and shot 37.3 percent for its second-lowest mark of the season.

It was just the third time the Buckeyes, who missed 12 of their first 13 second-half shots, had a worse shooting percentage than their opponent. Keita Bates-Diop scored a team-high 15 points for Ohio State, which had 13 turnovers and seven assists.

"We have a lot to work on," said Jae'Sean Tate, who finished with 12 points. "Consistency, effort, playing harder, and all the little things that you don't need talent for. (Maryland is) a very good team. They finished plays and kept the pace going the whole game. We need that same team effort. All of us, one through 12. We have to focus and get back to it."

The Buckeyes won the last meeting 65-61 on March 1 despite 16 points from Hammons and 15 from Rapheal Davis. Ohio State's only loss in the last nine matchups came in its last visit to West Lafayette, when Davis scored 20 points in Purdue's 60-58 win Feb. 4.

Hammons has averaged 13.4 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.6 blocks in the last five meetings.

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