Purdue-Notre Dame Preview

Scott Martin began his collegiate career as a prized recruit at

Purdue. Now, the Notre Dame senior wants his current school to

continue its recent success by beating his old one.

Facing the Boilermakers for the first time since leaving West

Lafayette more than four years ago, Martin looks to help the No. 22

Fighting Irish to a seventh consecutive victory Saturday at the

Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis.

Part of a talented freshman class with Robbie Hummel, E’Twaun

Moore and JaJuan Johnson dubbed the “Baby Boilers,” Martin averaged

8.5 points and 3.8 rebounds to help Purdue finish second in the Big

Ten in 2007-08. However, Martin apparently didn’t feel comfortable

in coach Matt Painter’s system and transferred to Notre Dame after

one season.

He sat out the 2008-09 season, then missed 2009-10 with a torn

ACL. Now 24, Martin has started all 74 games he’s played at Notre

Dame, and though he never blossomed into the star recruiters felt

he could be, Martin is a team leader and a valuable role player as

the Irish remain one of the nation’s steadiest programs.

While Martin has some extra incentive to play well Saturday, the

6-foot-8 guard insists his only focus is helping Notre Dame (8-1)

remain undefeated since a 79-70 overtime loss to Saint Joseph’s on

Nov. 16.

“It has been a long time since I played for (Purdue),” said

Martin, who averages 8.9 points with career highs of 7.5 rebounds

and 45.2 percent shooting from 3-point range. “I play for Notre

Dame, and I am really excited to get out there and try to get a

win.”

While these prominent Indiana basketball powers have split their

previous 40 meetings, this is the first since Notre Dame’s 71-59

win March 17, 2004, in the NIT. Though Purdue (4-5) has struggled,

Martin and the Irish expect to be challenged in the back end of a

doubleheader that opens with top-ranked Indiana facing Butler.

“It is really Indiana basketball at its finest,” said Martin, an

Indiana native who is 9 of 17 from beyond the arc in his last three

games.

Martin scored a season-high 14 points and pulled down eight

rebounds in the Irish’s 84-57 win over Brown last Saturday. Notre

Dame has beaten its last six opponents by an average of 18.6 points

and held them to 56.7 per game.

“We are going to have to sustain this throughout the season,”

said guard Jerian Grant, who is averaging 15.7 points in the last

three games and 8.0 assists in the last four. “Being consistent and

playing well is definitely going to be big for us.”

Freshman Cameron Biedscheid scored a season-high 17 points off

the bench against Brown, and could see more time Saturday if 6-10

sixth man Garrick Sherman misses a second straight game with a knee

injury. The 6-7 Biedscheid has averaged 12.3 points and gone 11 of

18 from 3-point range in the last four games.

“I’ve just really been stepping up and knocking the shots down,”

he said.

Purdue has had major trouble making baskets, ranking near the

bottom of the Big Ten with 66.6 points per game on 41.6 percent

shooting. Losers in two of their last three, the Boilermakers hope

they hit rock bottom last Saturday when they shot 29.8 percent in a

47-44 loss at Eastern Michigan.

“(These losses) have to affect us for the better,” said Purdue

guard and Indianapolis native Terone Johnson, who averages a

team-leading 13.0 points. “We can’t keep getting a win here or a

win there if we want to play at a high level.”