WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Illinois used the team concept on
offense and its best defender at the other end of the court to get
the Big Ten season off to a great start.
The Fighting Illini had 21 assists on 30 field goals, helped
each other enough against Purdue's (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) attacking man-to-man
defense to commit just six turnovers and Chester Frazier shut down
Robbie Hummel in a 71-67 overtime victory Tuesday night.
"We just stayed together," Illinois guard Trent Meacham said.
"We made some big plays down the stretch. The second half, we
stayed together when we thought we had it in regulation, then when
they hit a free throw and it went to overtime, we stayed together.
We believed that we could win, and that was huge for us."
E'Twaun Moore scored 17 points and JaJuan Johnson had 16 points
and 15 rebounds for Purdue (11-3), which had won its previous six
games. Hummel, Purdue's leading scorer, was held to seven points
and took just seven shots. He had 11 rebounds.
Illinois coach Bruce Weber said stopping Hummel was the key and
he was Frazier's assignment for most of the game.
"We just thought Robbie was the key to them," Weber said.
"He's a point-forward, he's great trailing on the break, he makes
plays, they run things through him. Chester's our best defender."
But part of the reason Hummel didn't get the ball was poor shot
selection by the Boilermakers and an inability to finish. Purdue
had 13 assists and 12 turnovers.
Despite their struggles, the Boilermakers could have won in
regulation, but Johnson missed the second of two free throws with
1.9 seconds left to force overtime.
"I just wanted to hit it and help the team," he said. "Hit
the first one, and the second one just didn't fall."
Purdue was 15-of-27 from the free-throw line and shot 38 percent
from the field in the game.
"Usually, that doesn't happen with this team," Johnson said.
"I know we'll be all right. We're just having some bad shooting
games. Not to take from Illinois. They played a great game, they
played together as a team. We'll definitely get it going."
Illinois has gotten the best of a budding rivalry lately. The
Fighting Illini upset Purdue in the second round of the Big Ten
tournament last season when the Boilermakers were seeded second and
The Fighting Illini aren't on a mission for respect, but they
believe they'll get it if they stay on course.
"Hopefully we did make a little bit of a statement, but you
can't worry about if we're ranked or not ranked," Meacham said.
"You just have to continue to stay as a team and continue to
In overtime, Purdue jumped out quickly with baskets by Hummel
and Lewis Jackson, but Illinois scored the next nine points and
never trailed again. The Fighting Illini made seven of eight free
throws in the final minute to keep the Boilermakers at bay.
Purdue had the ball, trailing 67-64 in the final minute of
overtime. Moore drove to the basket but had his shot blocked by
Frazier and Illinois rebounded. McCamey made two free throws with
12.7 seconds left to put Illinois in control for good.
With just under 4 minutes left in regulation and Illinois
leading 50-49, McCamey drove to the basket, but Johnson slammed his
shot against the backboard. Purdue quickly advanced the ball, and
Hummel drained a long jumper to give Purdue its first lead of the
Tisdale committed his fifth foul while battling Johnson for a
rebound with 2:05 to go. Johnson made both free throws after
Tisdale's foul to give Purdue a 55-52 lead. Meacham's layup made it
Purdue's Keaton Grant missed a bank shot, and Illinois took
possession in the final minute with a chance to take the lead.
Illinois' Calvin Brock put up a quick mid-range jumper, and Johnson
rebounded for Purdue.
Moore drove to the hoop and put up an awkward, off-balance shot
that missed badly, and Illinois rebounded to earn a chance at the
Meacham drove and passed to Davis, who made a bank shot with 6.3
seconds left to give Illinois a 56-55 lead.
Purdue quickly pushed the ball, and Jackson found Johnson for a
fadeaway jumper from the left baseline, and Davis fouled him with
1.9 seconds left. Johnson made the first free throw, but missed the
second to force overtime.
Tisdale didn't like watching overtime from the bench, but he
"It's pretty rough, but I know this team pretty well," he
said. "People step up at different times. In overtime, I think
everybody did their job."
Grant said there shouldn't have been overtime.
"At the end of the day it comes down to stops," he said. "We
needed one more stop, one more rebound. It shouldn't have got to
overtime. We should have finished it in regulation."
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