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Zach Edey helps rally No. 3 Purdue to 77-71 win at No. 12 Illinois to clinch outright Big Ten title

Zach Edey had 28 points and eight rebounds as No. 3 Purdue rallied in the second half to beat No. 12 Illinois 77-71 on Tuesday night, becoming the first team in 17 years to win consecutive outright Big Ten regular-season championships.

Fletcher Loyer added 16 points for the Boilermakers (27-3, 16-3), who had already clinched at least a share of their second straight conference title with Saturday night’s victory over Michigan State.

The previous Big Ten team to win back-to-back outright regular-season crowns was Ohio State in 2006 and 2007.

Braden Smith had 13 points and six assists for Purdue, which improved to 7-0 against ranked opponents this season. Mason Gillis scored 10 off the bench.

Loyer hit a 3-pointer with 3:08 left that put Purdue ahead for good, 67-66. That started a personal seven-point run that gave the Boilermakers a 71-66 lead with 1:27 to go.

Purdue outscored Illinois 43-31 in the second half and shot 8 of 10 on 3s.

Marcus Domask led second-place Illinois (22-8, 13-6) with 20 points. Coleman Hawkins had 13 points and nine rebounds.

Quincy Guerrier scored 12 for the Fighting Illini, but Terrence Shannon Jr. had a season-low 11 points on 3-for-13 shooting — including 0 of 4 from 3-point range.

Illinois failed to score at least 80 points for the first time in nine games.

“It was important for us to take care of the ball, not turn it over and make them earn everything,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “We did that in the second half. They played better than us in the first half.”

Illinois coach Brad Underwood said the game came down to a couple of possessions when the Illini didn’t make a play.

“A rebound, a loose ball. That’s what sends you home in March,” he said. “If that’s the best team in the country, we’re right there. But we’ve got to make plays.”

Edey scored 18 points in the first half, shooting 9 of 13 from the field, but the Illini led 40-34 at halftime. Purdue didn’t take its first lead until Gillis’ 3-pointer with 10:11 left put the Boilermakers in front 56-54.

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: All three of the Boilermakers’ losses have come on the road in Big Ten games, to Northwestern, Nebraska and Ohio State. Knocking off Illinois, which had lost just twice at home all season, was an impressive addition to Purdue’s sparkling resume.

Illinois: Shannon didn’t play when Illinois lost 83-78 at Purdue on Jan. 5. It was one of six games he missed while serving a university-imposed suspension because of a rape charge in Kansas. Foul trouble kept Shannon on the bench for a large portion of the first half Tuesday night, and he wasn’t much of a factor in the game. He didn’t have a defensive rebound.

SAME STARTERS

Purdue has sent out the same starting five in all 30 games, the longest stretch to begin a season in school history. The Boilermakers have never had a season when they started the same lineup in every game.

SO LONG

This was the final home game at the State Farm Center for Shannon, Hawkins, Domask, Guerrier and Justin Harmon. Of the five, only Hawkins played his entire career at Illinois. The others were transfers

SHORT TRIP

The Illinois and Purdue campuses are 91 miles apart, making it the second-closest geographic rivalry in the Big Ten behind Michigan and Michigan State. Those schools are separated by 64 miles.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Home vs. Wisconsin on Sunday.

Illinois: Plays at Iowa on Sunday.