WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – No. 14 Purdue men’s basketball matted down Illinois on Wednesday at Mackey Arena, moving back into a first-place tie in the Big Ten Conference with a 73-56 victory.
Sophomore center Matt Haarms posted career highs of 21 points and 10 rebounds for his first-ever double-double and equaled his best of five blocked shots. He was 8 of 8 from the field, including his sixth career 3-pointer, and 4 of 4 from the free throw line in 31 über-effective minutes.
The victory gave another Matt, head coach Painter, his 316th win at Purdue, moving him into the top 10 in Big Ten history (tied with Harry Combes of Illinois, 1948-67).
With three games remaining, the Boilermakers (21-7, 14-3) share the top spot in the Big Ten with Michigan State, one game ahead of Michigan.
Purdue and Illinois were deadlocked at 48 with 9:43 remaining before the Boilermakers steamrolled the Fighting Illini 25-8 the rest of the way. During a decisive seven-minute stretch, Illinois mustered merely three points.
Carsen Edwards got back on track with a game-high 23 points on 8 of 14 shooting from the field, including 2 of 5 from 3-point range, and 5 of 8 from the line. Nojel Eastern added a career-high 14 points, while Grady Eifert chipped in 11.
Ryan Cline scored just two points, but he had a career-high eight rebounds to go with seven assists and two steals.
After five first-half lead changes, Illinois took a 33-32 advantage into intermission. Purdue opened the second half with a 12-2 run to forge ahead 44-34, then the Illini answered with 13-4 surge to tie it at 48-apiece.
The Boilermakers shot 55.1 percent from the field, compared with 32.8 percent for Illinois, and outrebounded the Illini 36-27.
Nine different Illini scored, but none reached double figures. Ayo Dosunmu and Andres Feliz both tallied nine.
Purdue plays its home finale Saturday against Ohio State (17-10, 7-9) at 2 p.m. ET. The game is sold out and will be televised by ESPN. Seniors Cline and Eifert, whose current total of 104 wins ranks second in school history, will be honored postgame.
- Purdue improved to 21-7 overall and 14-3 in the Big Ten with a 73-56 win over Illinois … the win was Purdue’s fourth straight overall and its 12th in the last 13 games … Purdue started the season 6-5, but is now 15-2 in the last 17 games … Purdue has won four straight games against Illinois.
- Purdue became just the third program to win at least 14 Big Ten games in three straight seasons (Indiana 1991-93; Purdue 1994-96; Purdue 2017-19) … Purdue has won its 14th game in 17 games this year (before the “extra” games of the new 20-game schedule).
- Purdue has won at least 21 games in five straight seasons – the only Big Ten team that can accomplish that.
- The win locked up a double bye for the Boilermakers in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament … Purdue has had a double-bye in all five seasons of the new format, the only Big Ten team that can say that.
- Purdue won its 16th straight home game is now 14-0 this season in Mackey Arena … Purdue will go for an unbeaten home record for just the third time in Mackey Arena history (51st season) on Saturday against Ohio State … the other unbeaten seasons came in 1968-69 and 2010-11 … Purdue has won 38 of its last 39 home games – the lone loss was to Ohio State last February.
- Purdue is now 62-4 at home over the last four years, tying last year’s class for the most home victories by a senior class … the 62-4 record is the best mark in the country during that span.
- Purdue’s senior class has now won 104 games, tied for the second-most wins by a senior class in school history (Class of 2011 – 107-33).
- Purdue is now 26-5 in January and February over the last two years.
- Matt Painter has won 316 games at Purdue, now tied for the 10th most in Big Ten history … Painter is in his 14th year at Purdue and is just 48 years old.
- Matt Haarms recorded his first career double-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots … he was 8 of 8 from the field, made his only 3-point attempt and went 4 of 4 from the free throw line … his 21 points are the second-most points scored on a 100 percent efficiency in school history (22 by Caleb Swanigan vs. NJIT; Nov. 23, 2016).
- Carsen Edwards tallied 23 points for his 20th, 20-point game of the season and 35th of his career … Edwards became the 12th player in school history with 1,700 career points (now with 1,702 points).
- Nojel Eastern tallied a career-high 14 points, six rebounds and a season-high six assists … he also held Trent Frazier to nine points on 3-13 field goals.
- Grady Eifert recorded his second career double-figure scoring game with 11 points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal … Eifert has one turnover in his last seven games (189 minutes).
Purdue: Ohio State (Saturday), at Minnesota (March 5), at Northwestern (March 9)
Michigan State: at Indiana (Saturday), Nebraska (March 5), Michigan (March 9)
Michigan: Nebraska (Thursday), at Maryland (Sunday), at Michigan State (March 9)