Shorthanded Northwestern can’t outmuscle Purdue

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WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - FEBRUARY 01: Purdue Boilermakers forward Caleb Swanigan (50) boxes out Northwestern Wildcats guard/forward Sanjay Lumpkin (34) during the Big Ten Conference game on February 1, 2017, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

WEST LAFAYETTE,  Ind. – Unlike a number of teams in today’s college basketball world, Purdue’s game is not finesse.

Chris Collins was quick to point out his upcoming opponent’s ability to play “Power Basketball” with the best in the country over the past two years.

With 6-foot-9 forward Caleb Swanigan (18.5 points per game) and 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas (13.5 Points Per Game), the Boilermakers have presented problems to teams in the paint since 2015.

Collins’ newly ranked Northwestern team had the unenviable task of taking on 23rd-ranked Purdue after the Boilers lost at Nebraska on Sunday. On top of that, the Wildcats leading scorer Scottie Lindsey was back in Evanston with an illness.

Hence 25th-ranked Northwestern was a bit underpowered for one of their biggest Big Ten games of the season to date.

Purdue jumped on the short-handed Wildcats quickly and never looked back in an 80-59 victory at Mackey Arena Wednesday night. The defeat snaps Northwestern’s six-game Big Ten winning streak and drops them back into a tie for third with the Boilermakers in the conference standings.

Ranked for the first time since 2009, Northwestern struggled without Lindsey while lacking an answer Purdue’s inside strength. Swanigan (game-high 24 points, 16 rebounds) along with Haas (11 Points) helped the Boilermakers race out to a 45-23 lead at the half.

Purdue’s Vince Edwards added 17 points of his own as the Boilermakers shot 48 percent from the field on the night. The also rebounded Northwestern 41-30 on the evening.

Bryant McIntosh – a native of New Castle, Indiana – returned to his homestate with a 22-point effort but was just one of two Wildcats’ players in double digits for the evening.

The closest Northwestern would get to the lead was 14 points in the second half as they were outmuscled by their hosts just days after pushing their way into the Top 25.