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Indiana braces for big -- literally -- challenge against Purdue

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 01:58 am
BLOOMINGTON – They are coming, bigger than life, Purdue’s formidable 1-2 inside punch of Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas. Haas is 7-2 and 295 pounds. Swanigan is 6-9 and 250. They will, if you let them, overpower you into irrelevance.

IU junior forward Freddie McSwain is among the Hoosiers who will deal with them Tuesday night when the Hoosiers face the No. 16 Boilers at rocking Mackey Arena.

“It’s tiring,” McSwain said. “I try to use my quickness against them to get around the bigs. Hopefully the help side is there when I front them.”

Has McSwain ever faced a player as big as Haas before?

“I have. It was in JUCO. I wasn’t guarding him, though.”

Purdue (23-6 overall, 12-4 in the Big Ten) is a 10.5-point favorite to beat IU (16-13, 6-10). It has won four of the last five meetings. Besides its strong inside play, it has the Big Ten’s best three-point shooting attack with Dakota Mathias, Ryan Cline and P.J. Thompson.

However, the Hoosiers are coming off a 63-62 win over Northwestern that snapped a five-game losing streak.

“We’re happy to get the win,” McSwain said. “We hope this will spark our season going into these last two games and the tournaments.”

In the first meeting this season, which the Boilers won 69-64 in Assembly Hall, forward Vince Edwards took charge with 26 points and eight rebounds. Swanigan had 16 points and 14 rebounds.

“Edwards can shoot and make plays,” IU coach Tom Crean said. “You’ve got to be really aware of where he’s at, especially when the shot goes up.”

There’s buzz about the matchup of Indiana’s Thomas Bryant going against Swanigan. Crean downplayed it.

“It’s a team deal. What’s most important is we that we lock into how we guard Swanigan, but what we do when the shot goes up. It’s the same with Haas and Edwards. They’re so good because their guards are outstanding.

“You can’t  look at it that we can ignore this or that. We have to be locked into all of them, Mathias and Cline especially.

“We have to be really locked into the personnel and what those guys’ strengths are.”

One Hoosier plus – they enter the game with some momentum thanks to Saturday’s Northwestern win.

“A lot of things go into momentum,” Crean said. “You have to correct the mistakes, show where we could have been better. As a coach, I have to be demanding and critical, but at the same time let them see how good they are with things they are doing, likk going into that 22-0 run (against Northwestern).

“You’ve got to reward the good things. And for this team to have an 8-0 run (at the end of the Northwestern game) says a lot about their resolve and character. We have to keep making sure we manage every day the proper way.”


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