WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The Purdue basketball teams are ready for Big Ten play to get started and the Boilermakers will take on Illinois in men's and women's basketball on Wednesday.
Matt Painter and the Purdue men's basketball team will open Big Ten play at home against Illinois for the third time in the last five seasons when the two schools clash at Mackey Arena on Wednesday night.
"It's my last go around and I want to give as much effort as I can and do the right things and do my job on the floor. I want to help this team get some wins because that is what this is all about," said senior G/F D.J. Byrd. "It's the Big Ten season and even though we have had a rough start it is a new season for our team and get a win right off the bat," said Byrd.
Wednesday's game begins a three-game, seven-day stretch in which the Boilermakers will take on ranked Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State teams, respectively, to begin their league slate.
"We are 0-0 in the Big Ten and people are doubting us and I love to be doubted. We want to come out and get a lot of wins and surprise a lot of people. We do have a lot to prove," said freshman guard Rapheal Davis. "We still have to play our game and play how coach wants us to play and do what it takes to win," said Davis.
The Boilers are 4-3 in Big Ten openers under head coach Matt Painter, having won each of their last three; Purdue is 47-14 (.770) in Big Ten home games under Painter's watch.
After a slow start, the Boilermakers have leaned heavily on junior Terone Johnson who has averaged 14.1 points on 42.3 percent shooting (41-of-97), while adding 5.5 rebounds per game, over Purdue's last eight contests.
Purdue is coming off of a 73-66 win over William & Mary on Dec. 29 in which Purdue struggled to put the game away until a late surge. Each time it looked like the Boilermakers were about to pull away, the Tribe came right back.
But Jacob Lawson broke a 58-58 tie with a layup with 7:46 to go, and the Boilermakers outscored William & Mary 13-8 the rest of the way.
Meanwhile Sharon Versyp and the Purdue women's basketball team will travel to Champaign, Illinois to take on the Fighting Illini at Assembly Hall.
Purdue holds a 48-16 series advantage against the Illini and has won seven of the last eight matchups, including both games last season.
Illinois (7-5) is coming off a 70-59 victory at home over No. 6/7 Georgia. The Illini were led by Karisma Penn's 27 points and 19 rebounds. Penn's performance earned her Big Ten and espnW's Player of the Week honors. The 6-foot-2 senior forward is averaging team bests of 19.8 points and 10.8 rebounds and leads the Big Ten in rebounding and blocked shots (2.8 bpg).
As Purdue classes end for the semester, campus bar representatives and local law enforcement met to discuss what they noticed during the semester.
More than 45 kids got a special Christmas gift from the mayor of Lafayette.
Authorities make two arrests Monday night in connection with a counterfeiting case.