WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue returned to the winning side in its rivalry with Indiana in style.
The Boilermakers crushed the Hoosiers 82-64 Saturday in Mackey Arena to end a four-game losing streak in the series. Purdue had lost the previous four games by an average of 23.3 points. Purdue now leads the all-time series 113-88.
A game like this is just so important, not only for us but for our fans, our family, Purdue guard Terone Johnson said. We feel like this is a good rivalry for us, and to get it in the fashion like we did today, why not celebrate?
The seeds for the celebration were planted in the closing minute of the opening half after the teams had exchanged the lead four times and were tied at 33, the fourth tie of the opening 20 minutes.
Ronnie Johnson knocked down two free throws with 36 seconds left in the half, then Basil Smotherman made one free throw and scored on a putback after missing the second with a second left to give Purdue (15-10, 5-7 Big Ten) a 38-33 halftime lead.
We went into the locker room after that tip-in with a lot of momentum, Smotherman said. Terone and Sterling (Carter) were just telling us to keep putting it on them in the second half.
Carter didn’t just tell his teammates to put it on IU (14-11, 4-8), he showed them how by scoring the Boilermakers’ first 10 points of the second half to push the lead to 48-34 with 16:42 to play.
The Boilermakers outscored the Hoosiers 14-1 in the opening five minutes of the second half, pushing their run to 19-1 from the time the teams were tied late in the first half and giving them a 52-34 lead.
I’m not from Indiana, but these guys allowed me to see how passionate this rivalry was, said Carter, a Seattle native who transferred to Purdue for his final season from Seattle University.
I’m just glad to be here to help them get the victory.
Carter scored 19 points, connecting on 5 of 6 3-pointers, and Ronnie Johnson scored 16. Terone Johnson had 14, and Fort Wayne products Rapheal Davis and Bryson Scott added seven and five points.
Purdue made 25 of 52 shots and hit 10 of 18 3-pointers as center A.J. Hammons was limited to five points on 2-of-5 shooting in 19 minutes because of foul trouble.
Hopefully, it gives us some confidence, Purdue coach Matt Painter said. A little bit different for us since we didn’t get Hammons established. We had other guys step up.
Terone and Ronnie Johnson have had good games before and they had good games tonight. Sterling Carter really helped us. Bryson Scott really helped us. Rapheal Davis did some good things.
IU, which hit eight of its first 16 shots and held a 27-22 lead with 6:30 left in the first half, finished 19 of 59 from the floor.
The Hoosiers went nearly 9 1/2 minutes between field goals from when Jeff Howard made a layup with 2:33 left in the first half to when Yogi Ferrell hit a 3-pointer with 13:04 left in the game as the team fell into a 53-38 hole.
Ferrell scored 27 for IU, and Noah Vonleh added 14 points as he was limited to 24 minutes because of foul trouble. Will Sheehey scored 10 to give him 1,009 for his career, but all of his points came in the opening nine minutes.
The bottom line is we just can’t have empty possessions, said IU coach Tom Crean, whose team as lost three straight since upsetting then-No. 10 Michigan 63-52 on Feb. 2.