Illini Watch Early Lead Slip Away in 63-58 Loss at Purdue

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Rapheal Davis scored 18 points, and A.J. Hammons had 16 points and 10 rebounds, helping rally Purdue to a 63-58 victory against Illinois on Saturday in Mackey Arena.

Trailing by as many as 13 in the first half, the Boilermakers (20-11, 12-6) dominated the final 22 minutes, finishing the Big Ten Conference home schedule 8-1 and avenging a Jan. 21 loss at Illinois. Jon Octeus added 11 for Purdue.

Purdue will finish in at least a three-way tie for third place in the Big Ten with Michigan State and Iowa and possibly in a four-way tie if Ohio State defeats Big Ten champion Wisconsin on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.

The Boilermakers could be the fourth or sixth seed in the Big Ten tournament, depending on the outcome of the Wisconsin at Ohio State game.

Illinois (19-12, 9-9) got 25 points from guard Rayvonte Rice. The Illini, who had a two-game winning streak snapped, will be the No. 8 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will play No. 9 seed Michigan on Thursday in Chicago's United Center. Malcolm Hill added 15 for Illinois.

The Boilermakers began Saturday's second half on a 16-4 run, turning a 26-21 halftime deficit into a 37-30 lead with 14:08 remaining. The burst included seven points from Davis.

During the second half's first 13 minutes, the Illini made only two field goals.

An Octeus 3-pointer, a three-point play from Davis and a Hammons layup pushed the Purdue lead to 48-35 with 6:40 to play.

Purdue's Hammons scored the game's first basket before Illinois countered to lead 15-2 with 11:44 remaining in the half. The Boilermakers started 1 of 11 from the field.

A Rice basket with 2:26 left in the half extended the Illini lead to 26-13, but Purdue finished on an 8-0 run, including six from Hammons and a steal and layup from backup point guard PJ Thompson.

Rice had 14 first-half points but also had three of the Illini's nine turnovers. Hammons had eight for Purdue, and Basil Smotherman came off the bench for five points.

Illinois made 11 of 23 field goal attempts (47.8 percent) in the first 20 minutes while Purdue was 7 of 23 (30.4 percent). The Boilermakers did make six of their last 12 to crawl back into contention.

The Illini outrebounded Purdue 18-14 during the first 20 minutes.

TIP-INS

Illinois: The Illini have their most Big Ten victories since the 2010-11 team was 9-9. ... Illinois was gunning for its first home-and-home sweep of Purdue since the 2008-09 season. ... The Illini have key victories against No. 10 Maryland and No. 14 Baylor.

Purdue: The Boilermakers have trailed at halftime in eight of their 18 Big Ten games. ... Purdue ranks last in the Big Ten in turnovers averaging 13.1 a game. ... From Jan. 24 through Feb. 26, the Boilermakers were 8-1.

UP NEXT

Illinois will play Michigan on Thursday in the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago.

Purdue's Big Ten Tournament opponent is yet to be determined on Thursday or Friday.
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