Penn State (10-5, 2-2 Big Ten), which has struggled mightily in
recent years, found itself in the relatively unusual position of
leading by more than 20 points at times in the second half.
They withstood a late surge by the Boilermakers (7-9, 1-4). Matt
Keifer converted two offensive rebounds for buckets and Bryant
Dillon hit a few 3-pointers as Purdue went on an 11-3 run to cut
Penn State's lead to 55-45.
The Nittany Lions regained control after baskets from Travis
Parker and Claxton and a Jamelle Cornley layup off a fast break
brought the lead back to 16 points.
Fans gave a hearty cheer as they headed for the exits after the
victory gave Penn State as many Big Ten wins as last season, when
they were 1-15 in conference play.
Kiefer and Marcus White each had 13 points to lead Purdue.
The Lions stretched an 8-point halftime lead to double digits in
the second half after turnovers and sloppy ball-handling by Purdue
and defensive pressure from Penn State.
Claxton had a dunk after a backcourt steal by Cornley, then Ben
Luber hit an open 3-pointer to give the Lions a 50-32 lead.
Walker, a scrappy 6-foot-2 reserve, sparked a key run late in
the first half that fired up a relatively docile dinner-time crowd.
The game started at the unusual time of 6 p.m.
Walker hit a 15-foot jumper, got a 3-pointer from the right
corner off a touch pass in the lane from center Milos Bogetic, then
hit a 17-footer to give Penn State a 33-25 lead late in the first
half. Walker finished with 10 points.