Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

January 16, 2014

Hammons leads Purdue by Illinois, 66-58

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois owned the lead at halftime Wednesday, and they owned an edge on the boards over Purdue that helped the Illini get there.

All that changed over the next 20 minutes.

The Boilermakers (12-5, 2-2 Big Ten) out-rebounded the Illini 23-7 in the second half, and picked up a 66-58 road win that gives them a modest two-game win streak.

"Going down the stretch, getting stops, getting long rebounds, knocking down 6-footers at the end, it was big for us," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "We wanted to try to turn that on them and I thought we did that. It was the difference in the game."

Illinois coach John Groce agreed. He said his team, which has now lost three straight, was downright abused on the boards.

"It's unacceptable. They were tougher than us physically and they threw us around like a bunch of rag dolls," Groce said. "Our guys better figure out quickly the toughness required."

A.J. Hammons led Purdue with 17 points and a game-high eight rebounds.

The Boilermakers 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).

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.

Illinois center Nnanna Egwu didn't score Wednesday in 33 minutes and had just four rebounds.

"Tonight, obviously, Hammons was a load," Groce said.

Ronnie Johnson added 13 points for Purdue while Terone Johnson had 10.

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 came in averaging 18.1 points a game but finished with 11.

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