Boilermakers will try to avenge last year’s loss to Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt hasn’t been to Purdue since the 1929-30 season, but coach Kevin Stallings is very familiar with the place.
Stallings will return to face his alma mater Tuesday night when his Commodores look to defeat the No. 14 Boilermakers for the second straight season.
Stallings played at Purdue from 1979-82. The Boilermakers reached the Final Four in his first season under coach Lee Rose before Stallings played for the legendary Gene Keady in his last two years. The coach was with Illinois State when he returned to Mackey Arena in a 69-55 loss Dec. 8, 1998.
"I’m so old I don’t remember when I played there," Stallings said. "I had a team play there when I was at Illinois State, so I’ve kind of been through that already.
"Coach Keady is gone. He’s my emotional tie to Purdue University, so this is just another game for me. I didn’t have a whole lot to do with that Final Four banner, truth be told."
Stallings and Vanderbilt (7-3) are more concerned about duplicating their 81-71 win over Purdue on Dec. 14, 2014. Riley LaChance scored a career-high 26 points and Damian Jones added 15.
How Jones fares could be critical after the 7-footer — considered a possible first-round NBA draft pick — scored a season-high 21 points in Saturday’s 80-56 rout of Wofford. Stallings challenged him to score more by telling the center to stop passing the ball.
It should be more difficult to operate down low for Jones since Purdue (11-1) has a pair of 7-footers in Isaac Haas and A.J. Hammons.
"It should be fun," said Jones, who needs 13 points to reach 1,000 for his career. "I like going against taller opponents."
The Commodores would normally also have two 7-footers, but Luke Kornet is out four to six weeks with an MCL tear in his left knee. Kornet leads the SEC with 2.8 blocks per game.
The Boilermakers are among the nation’s leaders in average rebound margin at plus-12.4. Vanderbilt’s average rebound margin in two games without Kornet is plus-1.5.
Purdue seeks to bounce back from its first loss, 74-68 to then-No. 17 Butler on Saturday. The Boilermakers shot a season-low 41.4 percent and committed 18 turnovers.
"We didn’t take care of the ball tonight," guard Raphael Davis said. "We had 18 turnovers, I mean, that’s a recipe for disaster there. Myself included, we forced the drive too much, just drove in the paint with nowhere to go. We started playing tight."
Freshman Caleb Swanigan had 25 points and 11 rebounds. He’s the only Boilermakers starter who did not face the Commodores last season.
Davis led Purdue with 15 points and Haas chipped in 13 last year against Vanderbilt.
The Commodores are the SEC’s second-best 3-point shooting team at 41.4 percent. Wade Baldwin IV is at 53.3 percent, Matthew Fisher-Davis at 48.9 and LaChance at 44.7.
Vanderbilt has lost three of five overall and 10 straight against Top 25 opponents.
"You know, we definitely have a chip on our shoulder going in there," Fisher-Davis said. "It’s tough on the road, but they had a lot of the same pieces they had last year. There’s just a familiarity there with that. So, we’ll go in and put up a fight."
- Damian Jones
- FOX Sports Indiana
- Luke Kornet
- Matthew Fisher-Davis
- Riley LaChance
- Vanderbilt Commodores
- Wade Baldwin IV