Purdue leading scorer Jaden Ivey, who sat out the Boilermakers' 80-60 win over Northwestern on Sunday with a hip injury, said he expects to play against Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena tonight.
“I feel good,” said Ivey, who noted he did not feel any pain Wednesday. “I'm just looking forward to a good win against Iowa. ... I'm going to practice today and I should be good.”
Ivey, a member of the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 and a likely lottery pick in the NBA Draft if he decides to depart West Lafayette, suffered the injury while lunging for a steal in practice in the days leading up to the Boilermakers' game against Indiana on Jan. 20.
Ivey took some Ibuprofen heading before facing the Hoosiers and was able to score 21 points in the 68-65 loss, though he admitted it was difficult for him to chase Hoosiers point guard Rob Phinisee around screens. Phinisee hit four 3s in the game and scored a career-high 20 points.
“I wanted to play in that game so bad, just because it's IU, a rivalry game,” Ivey said. “(Strength and conditioning coach) Braden (Welsh) and I worked the whole two days (before the Indiana game). I could barely shoot around because I was in pain. Braden and (trainer) Chad (Young) got me right.
“(Before the game) I stretched it out and was able to get that adrenaline and I just felt good to go.”
Ivey aggravated the injury near the end of the game against Indiana and was in more pain when he woke up the next morning.
That setback ensured he would not play against the Wildcats, but the Boilermakers (16-3, 5-3 Big Ten) got contributions from all over the roster and won Sunday anyway.
Sasha Stefanovic poured in 22 points for the second time in three games, guard Eric Hunter Jr. chipped in 10 points and five assists and Blackhawk Christian grad Caleb Furst scored seven points and grabbed three rebounds.
Hunter said the loss of Ivey for an afternoon might have been a blessing in disguise.
“We really feel like we have the best setup this season to do what we want to do,” the senior point guard said. “Stuff like (Ivey's injury) is going to happen to test us.
“We needed guys to step up and that'll have them ready for when we (need) everybody and we're at full strength.”
The No. 6 Boilermakers will be happy to have Ivey back tonight, however, as they try to handle the full-court pressure defense Iowa (14-5, 4-4) runs. Purdue beat the Hawkeyes 77-70 in Mackey Arena on Dec. 3, but not before Iowa used its press to cut a 19-point deficit down to two and force the Boilers into 17 turnovers.
Purdue coach Matt Painter is hopeful his team is better prepared for the press this time after Hunter admitted it “shocked” the Boilers somewhat in the first meeting.
“You just have to play with confidence and help each other,” the 17th-year coach said. “More than anything (in the first meeting), we abandoned the basketball. ... A guy doesn't flash when he's supposed to flash, a guy doesn't get away from the ball when's supposed to get away from the ball.
“Those little things become big things when it comes to deflections and steals.”
When: 9 p.m. today
Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa
Records: No. 6 Purdue (16-3, 5-3 Big Ten), Iowa (14-5, 4-4)
TV: Fox Sports 1
Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM