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Purdue University

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College basketball preview: Eastern Michigan at Purdue

Records: Boilermakers (7-2); Eagles (5-2)

When: 2 p.m. today

Where: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette

Radio: 1380 AM

Web: ESPN3

Purdue leaders: Terone Johnson (13.2 ppg); A.J. Hammons (6.6 rpg); Ronnie Johnson (4.1 apg)

Eastern Michigan leaders: Karrington Ward (15.3 ppg); Karrington Ward (5.9 rpg); Mike Talley (3.6 apg)

Key matchup: Ward, a 6-foot-7 forward, can play from both the perimeter and the block. He is shooting 49.2 percent from the field and 9 of 20 from 3-point range this season while leading his team in points, rebounding, free throw attempts (45) and offensive rebounds (13). Ward wasn’t as much of a presence for the Eagles in losses to Kentucky and Massachusetts, two Top 25 programs. That should be further motivation for him and Eastern Michigan to try and grab their first win over a high-major program. Forwards Basil Smotherman and Errick Peck will likely be the primary defenders for Ward, and Kendall Stephens could get in on the act, as well.

The skinny: Purdue lost to Eastern Michigan 47-44 last season. The Boilermakers committed 18 turnovers in the loss, which dropped them to 4-5 on the season and moved the Eagles to 6-2. … Two 7-foot shot-blockers will go up against each other today. Hammons leads Purdue with four blocks per game, while Eastern Michigan center Da’Shonte Riley is averaging 4.6 per game. Riley, a senior, joined the Eagles after transferring from Syracuse after the 2011 season. … Eastern Michigan has given both its Top 25 opponents fits so far. The Eagles stuck with then-No. 3 Kentucky for 30 minutes before slipping away for a 81-63 loss to the Wildcats, and Eastern Michigan led No. 21 Massachusetts 35-31 at halftime on Tuesday but lost 69-57.

smorrison@jg.net

– Sean Morrison, The Journal Gazette

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