No. 17 Purdue outlasts Northwestern 71-61 in rugged game

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) A.J. Hammons had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Johnny Hill added a season-high 15 points to help No. 17 Purdue get past Northwestern 71-61 on Tuesday night.

The Boilermakers (21-6, 9-5 Big Ten) have not lost consecutive games this season.

Northwestern (17-10, 5-9) was led by Tre Demps with 16 points and Bryant McIntosh, who had 14 points and four assists. The Wildcats have lost seven of nine overall and five straight on the road.

Hammons had 11 points and eight rebounds in the first half as the Boilermakers saw a 12-point lead cut to 35-27.

Northwestern got as close as 39-35 in the second half, but Purdue got consecutive 3-pointers from Ryan Cline and Hill to spur a 10-2 run that made it 64-50 with 4:39 left. After that, Northwestern couldn’t get closer than seven.

The Wildcats struggled all game.

They missed their first eight shots, couldn’t make 3s and couldn’t match up with the bigger Boilermakers. And then they got into deep foul trouble.

Somehow, though, they managed to keep it close.

Purdue opened the game with eight straight points and strung together two 6-0 runs in the first half but led just 27-15.

When Northwestern closed out the half with a three-point play from McIntosh and a 3 from Demps, they trailed by eight. The comeback continued in the second half and when Gavin Skelly made one of two free throws with 15:58 left, the deficit was just four.

But the Boilermakers steadied themselves and used the late run to finally pull away.

TOUGH NIGHT

How tough was the shooting? Purdue shot 38.3 percent from the field and was 4 of 13 from 3-point range. Northwestern shot 56 percent in the second half to improve its overall shooting percentage to 44.6 and was 6 of 27 from beyond the arc.

TIP-INS

Northwestern: Fell to 5-8 when it fails to make at least nine 3-pointers. …. The Wildcats are 5-39 at Mackey Arena. … Northwestern was called for 26 fouls. Purdue 11. … Alex Olah had 12 points and two rebounds in 21 minutes.

Purdue: Improved to 15-1 at home and can tie the season record for wins (16) at Mackey Arena against No. 6 Maryland on Feb. 27. … After losing the rebounding battle for the first time this season on Saturday, the Boilermakers had a 45-24 advantage Tuesday. … Purdue had a 24-18 scoring edge in the paint but was outscored 12-8 in the second half.

UP NEXT

Northwestern visits Michigan on Feb. 24.

Purdue visits No. 22 Indiana on Saturday.