A.J. Hammons scored 17 points to lead Purdue to a 66-58 win over Illinois on Wednesday.
The Boilermakers (12-5, 2-2) trailed 33-29 at halftime, but they opened the second half with 10-5 run to regain the lead and held off the Illini (13-5, 2-3).
“We were able to make some plays, obviously we struggled shooting from beyond the arc the whole game. Then we were able to make a couple of three’s and then late in the game I thought it was good that A.J. Hammons was able to establish himself and make some plays at the basket. Going down the stretch, getting stops, getting long rebounds and then Terone and Ronnie knocking down those six free throws down at the end was big for us,” said head coach Matt Painter.
The 7-foot Hammons was a force inside for Purdue. He finished with a game-high eight rebounds – the Boilermakers held a 42-31 advantage on the boards – and was a big reason why Purdue scored 30 points in the paint.
Ronnie Johnson scored 13 points for Purdue while Terone Johnson had 10.
“I thought everyone showed up to play today and we just need games like that, where everyone is showing up, we are making shots and we are looking like a family out there. We were all sharing the ball and it was just a great feeling,” said sophomore guard Ronnie Johnson.
The loss was the third straight for the Illini.
Tracy Abrams led Illinois with 13 points. Rayvonte Rice had 10 by halftime but the Boilermakers stifled the Big Ten’s leading scorer in the second half. He finished with 11.