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Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
Indiana’s Christian Watford shoots in the first half Wednesday against Purdue at Mackey Arena. Watford scored 17 points in the Hoosiers’ 97-60 win.

Indiana relentless in rebounding

– The statistic immediately caught Tom Crean’s attention.

Purdue entered Wednesday’s game against Crean’s Hoosiers with a 72-2 record under Matt Painter when it won both the rebounding and turnover battles.

So Indiana emphasized dominating the boards and limiting turnovers. And as a result, the No. 3 Hoosiers dominated the game.

IU handed Purdue its worst loss at Mackey Arena, defeating the Boilermakers 97-60 in front of 14,845 fans.

“To get a win like this, I don’t care who you’re playing, is going to bring a lot of confidence to you,” Indiana senior forward Derek Elston said.

The Hoosiers had 39 rebounds to Purdue’s 29.

“When the ball is moving, when the ball is going on the second and third side, that increases our rebounding, that increases our offensive rebounding and gives us a chance at second-chance points,” Crean said.

“We’re not hitting people,” Painter said. “We’re not boxing out. If you don’t hit people, you don’t box out, you’re not going to get those rebounds. They were quicker to the ball and we did a poor job of boxing out. Once you get into rotation sometimes you get beat off of dribble penetration, you’re going to get in those rotations, and any time you get in rotation and you’re scrambling, you don’t have good rebound balance.”

Cody Zeller finished with a game-high 11 rebounds to go along with 19 points for Indiana.

“All the hustle points we can get is key,” Zeller said. “Whether it’s points in transition, off turnovers or offensive rebounds. It’s always a big key for us.”

Indiana had 18 offensive rebounds. The Hoosiers (19-2, 7-1 Big Ten) scored 24 second-chance points.

“(The Boilermakers) lead the league in defensive rebounding. I think we did a great job getting to the offensive glass and rebounding at a high level,” said IU junior guard Victor Oladipo, who had six rebounds.

“(The Hoosiers) scored off of every offensive rebound they got, second chance, third chance, we have to find a way to get a rebound and go the other way,” Purdue freshman guard Ronnie Johnson said.

Purdue (11-10, 4-4) also hurt itself with 18 turnovers. IU had 20 points off the miscues. The Hoosiers turned the ball over eight times.

IU also got hot from the outside to offset a career-high 30 points from A.J. Hammons.

Indiana had a season-high 12 three-pointers. Christian Watford was 4 of 5 from three-point territory for 17 points. Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell made 3 of 4 three-pointers and had 11 points.

IU was also 19 of 20 from the foul line. The Hoosiers made all eight of their attempts from the foul line during a 13-0 run late in the first half to build a 47-27 lead at the break.

“The facts are the facts. They played harder than us,” Painter said. “They played better than us.”

lpope@jg.net

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