CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP)—Gene Keady wasn’t happy going into Saturday’s game against Illinois. The Purdue coach said his team had been playing like teams it used to beat in losing three of its last five games.
“We started playing some basketball again today,” Keady said after the 24th-ranked Boilermakers snapped No. 19 Illinois’ six-game winning streak with a 58-54 victory. “We got back to playing right.”
David Teague led a balanced scoring attack with 15 points and the Boilermakers forced the Illini to take bad shot after bad shot.
“We lost our defensive intensity after the Central Michigan game (Dec. 13) and we just wanted to come back and bring that back,” Teague said. “We just had trust and confidence in each other out there on the defensive end and our offense just started to feed off of our defense.”
Purdue’s 11-2 second-half run made the difference for the Boilermakers (11-4, 1-1 Big Ten), who handed Illinois (10-3, 1-1) their first home loss in 24 games.
After Illinois’ Dee Brown hit a 3 to give the Illini a 42-40 lead with 10:01 to go, Teague scored five of the next nine points to put Purdue up 49-42 with 7:06 left and the Illini could get no closer than five points.
“They got out and pressured us,” Brown said. “They’re one of the best defensive teams in the conference and they really got out and played great defense on us.”
Matt Keifer scored 12 points and Brandon McKnight had 11 for Purdue, which held Illinois to 37 percent shooting, far off its 46 percent season average.
“With the great crowd that they have, you knew that they were going to make some runs and we just had to be patient and get our offense going, pass the ball at least five times, work up a sweat before you take a shot,” Teague said.
The game was the first matchup ever between Keady and Illinois’ Bruce Weber, who spent 18 seasons as his assistant.
“We could never get a run to break their spirit,” said Weber, who also criticized his team’s preparation after seeing Purdue lose its league opener by 10 points at Iowa.
“I just blame myself because I didn’t get them prepared,” he said. “A championship team, the players want it just as much as the coaches. And right now, I don’t think our players want it as much as us. I’m not sure they understand yet.”
Neither team had a fastbreak basket.
“Their two guards are the focal point of their offense,” Teague said. “They can really get out and run. Our main thing was to get two guys back and stop their transition game.”
James Augustine scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, his eighth career double-double, for Illinois, while Brown had 14 points and Nick Smith 10.
Purdue had a big advantage at the free throw line, going 14-of-16, while Illinois was only 3-of-6.
The game was physical, befitting the Purdue-Illinois rivalry. Brown went down with 1:32 left in the first half after getting an elbow in the midsection from Kenneth Lowe.
As he walked to the bench, Brown sent a disgusted look toward the Purdue bench. He was back on the court after the next whistle.
The Illini were tight early, missing five of their first six shots as Purdue took a 15-6 lead. Illinois scored eight points off 10 turnovers in the half and a 6-2 run cut the deficit to 22-20 at halftime.
Referee Ted Hillary twisted his ankle in the first half and had to leave the court, but he returned a few minutes later and finished the game.