No. 8 Illinois 76, Purdue 58

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP)—Purdue coach Matt Painter knew his team would have to make No. 8 Illinois play a halfcourt game if the Boilermakers were to have a chance to stop the Illini’s 32-game home winning streak.

The Illini responded with perhaps their quickest game of the season and spent much of the day getting transition baskets on the way to a 76-58 victory Saturday, tying Southern Illinois for longest home streak in the country.

“It opens up a lot of things. We push the ball and put pressure on the other team to get easy buckets,” said Dee Brown, who had two runouts during a 14-0 first-half run. “I think it opened up the game for us.”

Rich McBride scored 19 points and Brown had 12 and nine assists as Illinois (19-2, 5-2 Big Ten) erased a 15-6 deficit while holding Purdue scoreless for 5:51 during that 14-point run.

“At home, you must keep them out of transition,” Painter said. “You have to make them play in the halfcourt and we didn’t do that enough.”

The Boilermakers (7-12, 1-7) were the last team to beat Illinois on its home court, a 54-50 win on Jan. 10, 2004. But they have lost four in a row overall to the Illini, who are 90-3 at home since the start of the 1999-2000 season.

Purdue scored the first seven points of the game and was up 12-4 with 14:02 to go in the first half when coach Bruce Weber gave his players a loud wakeup call.

“We got to get a motor going,” he shouted as McBride stepped to the free throw line.

McBride hit both free throws but Purdue’s Marcus Green was fouled on a 3-point try and hit all three free throws to put the Boilermakers up 15-6. But the Illini got Weber’s message.

“I think we just sucked it up a little bit and one thing led to another,” said James Augustine, who had his seventh double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

The early nine-point deficit became a 29-20 lead when Augustine swiped the ball from Marcus White at midcourt and raced in for a dunk with 4:38 left in the half.

Along the way, Brown grabbed a long rebound off Chris Lutz’s missed 3-pointer and flew down the lane for a layup that turned into a three-point play. A few seconds later he made another layup to close Illinois’ deficit to 15-14.

He scooped a loose ball back from out of bounds to McBride who hit a 3-pointer that gave the Illini their first lead, 18-15. And his racing layup with 6 seconds left in the half put the Illini ahead 35-27.

“His transition was tremendous,” Weber said. “The defense, the pressure, he made some great decisions, some great passes.”

Gary Ware’s basket cut Illinois’ lead to 39-34 just after halftime, but the Boilermakers could not contain Illinois’ transition game and the Illini answered with a 17-3 run that gave them a 56-37 lead with 13 minutes to go.

“Their pressure was too much for us in a couple of those runs,” Painter said. “They pressured us into some ill-advised passes and some ill-advised shots.”

McBride was 6-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range and 4-for-4 from the free throw line, his first attempts 12 games.

“I’m just trying to be as consistent as possible and try to take the pressure off Dee and James,” he said. “I just want to be a factor out there and not be out there just to be out there.”

Ware and Green each scored 11 points for Purdue, which lost its fourth straight. Bryant Dillon added 10 points and Matt Kiefer had 10 rebounds.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
M. Kiefer M. Kiefer
3-9,  9 Pts
10 Rebs, 0 Assists
D. Brown D. Brown
5-14,  12 Pts
4 Rebs, 9 Assists

Team Stat Leaders