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FINAL — Purdue 68, No. 11 Illinois 61

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.— Purdue figured out how to slow the pace — and still score a little, too, Wednesday night.

Terone Johnson finished with a career-high 25 points and D.J. Byrd scored nine of his 15 during a key 19-3 second-half run, sending the Boilermakers past No. 11 Illinois 68-61.

Byrd sealed the game with a three-point play with 20.1 seconds to go.

The Boilermakers (7-6, 1-0 Big Ten) have won three straight and are over .500 for the first time this season. They have won eight straight over the  Illini.

Illinois (13-2, 0-1) was led by Brandon Paul with 15 points and Joseph Bertrand with 14, but managed only one basket during a decisive 51/2-minute stretch of the second half. Illinois has lost eight straight conference road games, dating to a Jan. 4, 2012 win at Northwestern.

Its losing streak against Purdue is the school’s longest against a Big Ten foe since dropping nine straight to Purdue from 1996 to 2000.

Still, it took everything the Boilermakers had to hang on when Illinois rallied from a 10-point deficit over the final 3 1/2 minutes to close to 63-61.

But Byrd put that away by grabbing an inbounds pass, tossing in a layup, drawing a foul and hitting the free throw to make it a two-possession game.

It looked like Illinois’ misery might end when it opened the game by going 6 of 10 from the field and 5 of 7 from 3-point range. That helped them hang on to a 33-31 halftime lead. The Illini extended the margin to 45-39 when Tyler Griffin hit a 3-pointer with 12:03 to play.

But Byrd and 7-foot freshman A.J. Hammons rallied Purdue.

After Johnson scored on a putback, Byrd knocked down a 3 to make it 45-44. Hammons scored on a short hook shot to give Purdue the lead and Byrd followed that with consecutive 3s. When Johnson drove in for a layup Purdue led 55-48 with 6:36 to play, and they led by as much as 61-51 with about 3 minutes to go.

This time the Illini closed the deficit to 61-58 with the second of two 3s by Paul 3s with 1:45 left.

After Purdue’s Ronnie Johnson scored, Richardson answered with his only 3 of the game to make it 63-61 with 28.4 seconds left.
But Byrd closed it out with the three-point play on Purdue’s next possession.

— AP

PURDUE 68, No. 11 ILLINOIS 61
ILLINOIS (13-2)
Egwu 1-3 1-2 3, Griffey 3-5 0-0 8, Richardson 3-10 0-0 7,  Paul 5-10 1-1 15, Abrams 4-12 3-4 12, McLaurin 0-4 2-4 2,  Bertrand 5-15 2-3 14, Henry 0-0 0-0 0, Langford 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-59 9-14 61.
PURDUE (7-6)
Hammons 1-3 0-1 2, Byrd 5-11 1-1 15, Lawson 3-5 4-6 10,  T. Johnson 9-18 6-9 25, R. Johnson 3-10 1-2 7, A. Johnson 2-6 0-0 5,  Hale 1-4 0-0 2, Davis 1-3 0-0 2, Carroll 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-61 12-19 68.
Halftime—Illinois 33-31. 3-Point Goals—Illinois 10-26 (Paul 4-7,  Griffey 2-3, Bertrand 2-5, Abrams 1-5, Richardson 1-6), Purdue 6-16  (Byrd 4-9, T. Johnson 1-2, A. Johnson 1-4, R. Johnson 0-1). Fouled  Out—None. Rebounds—Illinois 35 (Richardson 9), Purdue 45 (T. Johnson 9).  Assists—Illinois 10 (Abrams 5), Purdue 14 (T. Johnson 4). Total  Fouls—Illinois 20, Purdue 14. A—9,874.

No. 11 Illinois 45, Purdue 39 — 11:47 second half

Terone Johnson’s steal off Brandon Paul that led to a Jacob Lawson dunk got the crowd fired up. It led to a good Purdue defensive possession and continued to get the folks going after Joseph Bertrand shot an airball. That’s as loud as it’s gotten in here all night.

Tracy Abrams is playing a bit out of control. He’s been called for traveling twice and he’s probably been guilty of the infraction at least four times.

Purdue has really turned up the perimeter pressure on the Illinois guards. Hardly any room for the Illini to breathe.

Ted Valentine is taking over, by the way. He was the star of that Minnesota-Michigan state game the other day. Too bad because those teams played their butts off.

John Groce is telling the officials that Ronnie Johnson crosses the free throw line before the ball hits the rim when he shoots foul shots.

Purdue’s women just went on a 12-2 run, I’m told in the last four minutes, they’re under three minutes to go at the Assembly Hall.

Tracy Abrams’ desperation three at the end of the shot clock was killer for Purdue. It was much needed for the Illini.

The public address announcer was confused on Terone Johnson’s charging call. He credited him with a bucket on the play. He was wrong. Purdue assistant Jack Owens wanted the bucket to count, saying he got it off before contact was made.

Purdue fan behind me: “Swallow the whistle, you idiot!”

That probably wouldn’t feel too good.

Another fan just said: “Haven’t heard from Griffey in a while. Then the Illinois sharpshooter drilled a three-pointer from the left wing.

Nnanna Egwu with a pair of blocks here in the last couple of possessions as an “I-L-L — I-N-I” rings through the arena.

No. 11 Illinois 33, Purdue 31 — Halftime

When Brandon Paul went to the bench with his second foul at about the eight-minute mark, I said Bertrand would have to carry the scoring load. He hit a floater then a three right away. He can really fill it up. He’s really kind of taken over. He was leading a 3-on-1 break, was the only guy being defended and bullied his way through the defender for a bucket. Probably Illinois’ best option on the play.

Abrams and Paul both returned to the floor and played plenty with the two fouls. That’s something different under the new regime.

With all this scoring and offense, this doesn’t have the feel of your typical grind-it-out Purdue-Illinois game. This is much more fun.

The Purdue fans are all over Ted Valentine.

Said one fan: “I’ll say this — BOOOOOOOOO!”

Said another fan: “Painter iced his own shooter, calling a timeout.”

It was actually a media timeout, but, OK.

D.J. Richardson still struggling from three. All three shots tonight have been contested looks. The third one, he got faked out by the fans chanting the end of the shot clock.

How about this: He made a running three from beyond halfcourt after the final buzzer. Maybe that will get him going?

The Illini shot 40.7 percent (11 for 27) from the floor and 5 for 11 (45.5 percent) from behind the three-point line. Bertrand (four rebounds) has 12, Brandon Paul has seven and Tyler Griffey has five. Richardson leads with five boards for the Illini, who were outrebounded 20-19.

Purdue shot 37.1 percent from the floor (13 for 35) and 3 for 10 from three. Terone Johnson leads all scorers with 13 points. Chicago’s Anthony Johnson has five.

Illinois turned it over four times, leading to six points. Purdue gave it away twice leading to two points.

No. 11 Illinois 21, Purdue 18 — 11:24 first half

Initial thought: A.J. Hammons doesn’t look like he weighs 280 pounds. The 7-footer is slender.

Nnanna Egwu picked up an early moving screen. Didn’t look like much, Ted Valentine thought otherwise.

Surprise of the night so far: Ted Valentine didn’t blow the whistle at the tip for a rejump. He does that a lot.

D.J. Richardson missed his first three-pointer bad, but he made a nice move to the basket, spun off a defender for a nice layup.

Paul and Richardson got off to a nice start for the Illini. Richardson with his spin move and Paul with his banked in three for a four-point play.

Painter was worried about them coming in.

“They’re making more shots. They’ve been on a big stage before, they’ve been in big game. That part of it doesn’t phase those guys,” he said. “I think they’re doing about the same thing they’ve done before, they’re just playing better. It’s hard when people are gunning for you every night. Both those guys have found their groove. I really think they’re doing about the same thing they’ve done before. They’re making more shots and just playing a little bit better.”

So far the outside shots are falling for the Illini. They made 4 of their first 5 from long range. Paul (2), Bertrand and Griffey have all connected from deep.

Looks like Richardson got away with traveling twice on the same move to the basket that resulted in a layup. The far-from-capacity crowd was furious.

Loren was furious when Big Ten Player of the Week Tracy Abrams missed a breakaway layup.

See you at the half.

No. 11 Illinois (13-1) at Purdue (6-6) — Tipoff (BTN)

I mentioned earlier there was a good amount of orange in the building. The Illinois fans could have had more seats if they wanted. There are some serious large chunks of available seats inside Mackey Arena. The students are on break and apparently the local folks aren’t all that excited about the 6-6 home team.

Tolono product Brian Cardinal, a former Boilermaker, thinks Purdue can pull the upset.

“(Illinois) is playing at en elite level, at a high level. If we’re not careful, they can come in here and beat us on our home court,” he said earlier. “We’ve got some bruisers on the inside, I’m sure we’ll try to get the ball to those guys. If we can make some shots, I think we’ll be all right.”

It might not be as intimidating in here as it usually is. Loren is shocked.

Illinois is going with the usual starting lineup: Abrams, Richardson, Paul, Griffey and Egwu. Purdue is going with Johnson, Johnson, Lawson, Hammons and Byrd.

Gonna get to work writing stuff for tomorrow’s paper. I’ll be back midway through the half with an update.

No. 11 Illinois (13-1) at Purdue (6-6) — 30 minutes before tipoff (BTN)

Director of basketball operations Mark Morris joined Steve Kelley, Loren Tate and me on the pregame show.

Morris said he organized the annual trip to the Beef House on the way over to Purdue yesterday, though there was some trepidation from John Groce about making the move.

Since the Illini have lost three straight here, Groce was in favor of nixing the trip for superstitious reasons. Sports information director Derrick Burson and other veteran Illinois folks talked them into making the trip, so they did.

If Illinois loses, don’t expect a Beef House visit next year.

The fans are starting to file in here and there’s a healthy amount of orange in the stands. Don’t expect them to do much in terms of drowning out the Purdue fans.

Morris also told us the coaching staff isn’t overly concerned with D.J. Richardson’s recent shooting slump. They haven’t harped on it and say he’ll break out eventually.

The Illini just took the floor with the fans in the stands for the first time tonight. There a smattering of boos, but nothing too crazy. The students are on break, so the Paint Crew wont be at full strength.

Just saw that Kentucky is up on Eastern Michigan by almost 50. EMU beat the Boilermakers 47-44 earlier this season.

Broke down the Big Ten preconference today. Here’s a look at that.

I’ll be back at the tip with an update.

No. 11 Illinois (13-1) at Purdue (6-6) — 60 minutes before tipoff (BTN)

Back here at Mackey Arena

Mike LaTulip was the first Illini on the floor. He beat Tyler Griffey out here to get some early shots up.

Looks like the Illini are going with the blue uniform combination tonight.

Was really looking forward to seeing Champaign native Jay Simpson suit up for the Boilermakers tonight, but Big Jay is likely out for the remainder of the season with a foot injury.

The former standout at Champaign Central, who spent his senior season at LaLumiere Prep School in Indiana, was averaging 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in about eight minutes per games through 10 contests before going down.

“I was very disappointed when it first happened,” Jay said. “I talked to my mom and my coaches from back home and they just told me that everything happens for a reason. I’m not happy it happened, but I’m not mad about it. I’ll be able to get better and I’ll be a freshman again next year.”

We’ll have more from Jay and Matt Painter tomorrow in The News-Gazette and on Illini HQ.

The Big news for Illinois this week was Tracy Abrams being named the Big Ten Player of the Week. It was the first weekly honor of the sophomore’s career and second time an Illinois player was feted this season. Brandon Paul was the POY after dropping 35 at Gonzaga last month.

Abrams registered career highs of 27 points and eight rebounds in the win against Auburn to go along with five assists, four steals and one turnover.

He doesn’t get excited about all the individual attention and was uncomfortable talking about it yesterday.

“It’s obviously a great accomplishment, but still have to be humble about it and stay focused,” he said.

Purdue 7-foot center A.J. Hammons got banged up the last time out. The freshman is expected to be full-go tonight.

“He’s fine, he practiced,” Painter said.

All the Illini are on the floor now, as are the Boilermakers. I'll be back soon.

No. 11 Illinois (13-1) at Purdue (6-6) — 90 minutes before tipoff (BTN)

Happy New Year, folks and welcome to the first Live Report of the Big Ten season.

Mackey Arena underwent a nearly $100 million renovation the last couple of years and it’s beautiful. It’s a great place to watch a basketball game. However, it hasn’t been kind to the Illini of late.

Illinois has lost three straight in this building and seven straight to Purdue overall. The senior class wanted to end its losing ways in St. Louis and that didn’t happen. The finally won in Chicago over the weekend and they’re hoping to do the same here today against the Boilermakers.

It’s the first game in a long time between these rivals that doesn’t pit Bruce Weber against a friend. Maybe that’ll help the Illini get back on the winning side of the series.

Purdue coach Matt Painter and Weber were tight. Painter likes what he’s seen from the veteran Illini club so far.

The key for Purdue tonight, he said, is to force Illinois to make tough shots.

“The main thing when you go against people that can score from the perimeter is you’ve got to make it tough on them. If they make tough ones, you’ve got to be able to live with that,” Painter said. “Don’t let them have easy ones, don’t let them get layups, don’t let them get to the free throw line, don’t let them get wide-open rhythm shots. When you do that, they’re going to accumulate a lot of points. It’s going to be important to know where they are at all times and makes them score over us and out of rhythm. They’ve proven once they get into rhythm and once they get it going, they’re tough to stop.”

I’m going to jump on the radio with Steve Kelly and Loren Tate for the pregame show. Listen to that at WDWS.com. We had Brian Cardinal on with us during SportsTalk. He was wearing his ridiculously large NBA championship ring. Probably the most expensive thing I've ever held.

D.J. Byrd and some of the other Boilermakers are making their way onto Keady Court now. No sign yet of the Illini

Be back with another update shortly.

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beekay wrote on January 02, 2013 at 9:01 pm

This is looking like it is going to be a bad loss against a bad Purdue team.  Sooner or later, we have to find a slasher who can get an open look in the lane.  Purdue extended their defense and took away the 3 pointers.  That means there is space in the middle.  Our defensive rebounding is horrible.  Sometimes our help defense is too aggressive.

tmoney68 wrote on January 02, 2013 at 9:01 pm

I find it hard to believe that Purdue can play some of there big men, who are nothing more than stiffs and Shaw can't play at all for this team. I understand that Griffey's a good three point shooter and Egwu is a defensive pest sometimes but man that's hard to believe Shaw can't play!

tmoney68 wrote on January 02, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Oh well, the good feeling of the positive start was good while it lasted, I'm constantly reminded of the failures of the previous regime (recruiting/toughness) and MArcus please don't tell me how this coaching staff thinks DJ will shoot himself out of his slump, this slump is going on three years now!

 

Bwp 5P wrote on January 02, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Surprise....We can't rebound.......and shoot like Poop.............but I freaking HATE Big Ten officiating!

It's absolute BS!

SEMOIllini wrote on January 02, 2013 at 10:01 pm

D. J. Byrd killed us.  He hit 3s with no fear and got to every loose ball near him.  He had the play of the game with his falling out of bounds timeout at the end of the game--(didn't think the refs were supposed to allow those out of control timeouts this year?)  

Purdue dominated the Illini in the paint.  They got too many offensive rebounds and got to the rim too easily.  We settled for the 3 too often and made Purdue look like a top 10 team instead of the 6-6 team they are.  Keep playing like this and we'll had a tough year in the conference.   

tmoney68 wrote on January 02, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Yep!!!