A.J. Hammons

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No. 13 Purdue routs Illinois 89-58 in Big Ten quarterfinals

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Purdue reserve center Isaac Haas scored 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting and the No. 13 Boilermakers crushed Illinois 89-58 Friday in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.

Vince Edwards added 14 points, Caleb Swanigan had 11 points and 12 rebounds and Dakota Mathias added 11 for Purdue (25-7), which shot 58.3 percent.

The Boilermakers made 24 of their first 36 shots, including 8 of 14 from 3-point range, taking a 60-27 lead on P.J. Thompson’s 3-pointer with 15:59 left. Consecutive 3-pointers from Edwards pushed the Boilermakers’ lead to 66-30 with 12:13 to play.

Illinois (15-19) got 17 points from Maverick Morgan, 16 from Malcolm Hill and 13 from Kendrick Nunn.

Purdue is trying to win its first Big Ten Tournament title since 2009, the only time the Boilermakers won the event.

Purdue made 18 of 29 shots (62.1 percent) in the first half, including a combined 10 of 10 from Hammons and Haas, en route to a 45-25 lead.

The Boilermakers outrebounded the Illini 20-11 in the opening 20 minutes and limited Illinois to 1-of-8 shooting from 3-point range.

Hammons and Haas each scored 10 first-half points, and Davis added nine points and four assists.

Illinois she 38.5 percent in the first half, getting 12 points from Hill, who scored 30 in January when the Illini hosted the Boilermakers and won 84-70.

TIP-INS:

Illinois: The Illini advanced to the quarterfinals with victories against Minnesota and Iowa, making a combined 24 3-pointers … Illinois’ 27 victories in Big Ten Tournament competition are second-most in the league … The Illini won this tournament in 2003 and 2005.

Purdue: The Boilermakers, along with Michigan State and Maryland, are the only teams to receive double byes in the new 14-team Big Ten Tournament since Maryland and Rutgers joined in 2015 … Including Friday’s victory, Purdue will take a four-game winning streak into Saturday’s semifinals … Before facing Illinois, Purdue’s reserves had outscored the opponent’s bench in 29 of the first 31 games.

UP NEXT:

Purdue: Plays Michigan in semifinal on Saturday.

Swanigan, Thompson lead No. 15 Purdue past Wisconsin 91-80

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Freshman Caleb Swanigan scored a career-high 27 points and sophomore P.J. Thompson also set a career best with 22, leading No. 15 Purdue to a 91-80 victory against Wisconsin on Sunday.

A.J. Hammons added 16 points and Vince Edwards had 11 for the Boilermakers (24-7, 12-6), who forced a four-way tie for third place in the Big Ten with Maryland, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Purdue earned the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will play in Friday’s second semifinal against an opponent to be determined.

Nigel Hayes led Wisconsin (20-11, 12-6) with 30 points, including 18 in the second half. The Badgers earned the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament and will play Thursday in Indianapolis’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Badgers, who had a four-game winning streak snapped, are the reigning Big Ten Tournament champs.

After Thompson made five first-half 3-pointers, the Badgers were forced to extend their defense and Swanigan, Purdue’s power forward, had a 23-point second half. The Boilermakers will take a three-game winning streak into the Big Ten tourney.

The Boilermakers opened the second half with a three-point play from Swanigan and a steal and dunk from Edwards to seize a 50-39 lead with 18:12 remaining. Swanigan’s layup pushed the advantage to 52-39 at the 17:09 mark.

Purdue shot 63 percent (17 of 27) during the first half and led 45-39 through 20 minutes, getting 15 from Thompson on 5 of 6 from 3-point range.

After Wisconsin, which shot 57.1 percent in the half (16 of 28) took a 29-21 lead, the Boilermakers finished the half outscoring the Badgers 24-10, including six 3-pointers. Purdue also outrebounded Wisconsin 13-7 during the first 20 minutes, when Hayes scores 12 for the Badgers.

TIP-INS

Wisconsin: Entering the Purdue game, the Badgers were 11-1 since a Jan. 12 loss at Northwestern, losing only at second-ranked Michigan State on Feb. 18. … In its eight most recent games, Wisconsin is 72 of 175 from 3-point range (41.1 percent), averaging nine made 3s in those eight contests. … The Badgers have won 20 games for a 10th consecutive season and have won at least 12 Big Ten games for a seventh consecutive year.

Purdue: The Boilermakers’ non-starters outscored the opponent’s bench in 28 of the first 30 games. … Entering the Wisconsin game, center A.J, Hammons had scored in double figures 11 consecutive times … The Boilermakers’ 46.5 field goal percentage is the program’s best since the 1997-98 team shot 48.4 percent. … Purdue entered having won 22 of its last 23 home games.

UP NEXT

Wisconsin: Big Ten Tournament, TBA

Purdue: Big Ten Tournament, TBA

No. 20 Purdue hangs on to beat No. 10 Maryland

AP Photo/R Brent Smith
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Having lost to No. 10 Maryland earlier this month, No. 20 Purdue was looking for some payback Saturday afternoon in West Lafayette. And thanks to their bench and superior effort on the glass, Matt Painter’s Boilermakers accomplished that task. Purdue hung on despite struggling mightily against Maryland’s full court pressure in the second half, winning 83-79 thanks in large part to the work they were able to do during the game’s first 35 minutes.

Purdue dominated in the rebounding department, grabbing 59.4 percent of its available missed shots and converting those 19 offensive rebounds into 24 second-chance points. And it was a group effort on the boards, with seven Boilermakers grabbing at least two offensive rebounds (Johnny Hill led the way with four).

Maryland’s been good defensively when it comes to shooting percentages, as they entered Saturday second in the Big Ten in both overall and three-point field goal percentage defense (conference games only). But where they’ve struggled is completing defensive possessions with a rebound, as they entered the game ranked ninth in the Big Ten in defensive rebounding percentage (70.6). Maryland was even worse than that against Purdue, and that resulted in a deficit that proved to be too much to recover from.

As balanced as Purdue was on the boards, they were just as good in the scoring department. Five players, led by A.J. Hammons’ 19 points, finished in double figures with Dakota Mathias adding 17 points off the bench. Purdue’s reserves outscored Maryland’s 30-10, with 18 of those points coming in the first half. The Boilermakers got out of the gates quickly thanks to their starters, but it was the bench that helped them maintain a working margin for most of the day.

Purdue has some work to do when it comes to dealing with pressure, as was the case Saturday. Maryland used Jake Layman at the head of their press as they looked to change momentum, and Purdue’s guards reacted as if they hadn’t seen a press at all this season. That, even with the improved play of P.J. Thompson, was the question many asked regarding Purdue’s chances in March.

Will they have enough on the perimeter to supplement the efforts of Hammons, Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas in the post? Purdue’s 15 turnovers were converted into 22 points by the Terrapins, who nearly stole the game as a result. The Boilermakers have turned the ball over on more than 17 percent of their possessions in Big Ten play, and it’s something they’ll have to address heading into the NCAA tournament.

But the Boilermakers also got a lot going for themselves, including their size, depth and the ability to earn extra possessions through offensive rebounds. Purdue took advantage of those attributes against Maryland, picking up a quality win as a result.

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 12 Miami, No. 18 Purdue win thrillers at home

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 18 Purdue 82, No. 8 Michigan State 81 (OT)

The Spartans and Boilermakers produced a highly entertaining game in West Lafayette, with Matt Painter’s team finding a way to pick up a critical one-point win. Rapheal Davis scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Boilermakers, and A.J. Hammons was excellent in the post. The senior center finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocked shots. As Rob Dauster notes, this was a huge win for a team that was in danger of falling to seventh in the Big Ten standings.

Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine finished two rebounds shy of a triple-double with 27 points, eight rebounds and ten assists, but he was made to work for those points (10-for-23 FG). But he needed more help from Bryn Forbes and Eron Harris, who combined to score ten points on 4-for-19 shooting.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 6 Kansas 75, No. 10 West Virginia 65: Kansas got some revenge on the Mountaineers, who won the first meeting between the two teams in Morgantown last month. Perry Ellis scored 21 points and Landen Lucas added nine points, 16 rebounds and four blocks to lead the way for the Jayhawks, who forced a three-way tie atop the Big 12 with the win. The front court play and Kansas’ offensive execution and balance are what won the game for Bill Self’s bunch.

No. 12 Miami 65, Pittsburgh 63: The Panthers, in need of another quality win, fell short as a result of their inability to box out Miami’s Angel Rodriguez on the game’s decisive play. Rodriguez managed to work his way in between three Panthers to tip in a missed shot with 1.4 seconds remaining to give the Hurricanes the win. Rodriguez finished the game with 17 points, eight assists and just one turnover.

Creighton 70, No. 5 Xavier 56: The Bluejays picked up a huge win for their NCAA tournament hopes while also dropping the Musketeers two games behind No. 1 Villanova in the Big East standings. Maurice Watson Jr. was outstanding at the point for Greg McDermott’s team, finishing with 32 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals. Xavier’s biggest issue was making shots: they shot 1-for-21 from beyond the arc and 30 percent from the field on the night. And that may have cost them a shot at the Big East title.

BUBBLE BANTER: Pitt’s missed chance and Creighton’s big win

STARRED

A.J. Hammons, Purdue: Hammons finished Purdue’s overtime win over No. 8 Michigan State two blocks shy of a triple-double, finishing with 19 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks.

Maurice Watson Jr., Creighton: 32 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in the Bluejays’ win over No. 5 Xavier.

Angel Rodriguez, Miami: 17 points, eight assists, one turnover and the game-winning tip-in with 1.4 seconds remaining as the Hurricanes beat Pittsburgh.

STRUGGLED

Bryn Forbes and Eron Harris, Michigan State: Forbes and Harris scored ten points combined, shooting 4-for-19 from the field, in a one-point overtime loss at No. 18 Purdue.

Xavier from the perimeter: The Musketeers shot a stunning 1-for-21 from three in their loss at Creighton.

Kale Abrahamson and Ore Arogundade, Drake: They combined to score six points on 2-for-14 shooting in a blowout home loss to No. 25 Wichita State.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Playing their first-ever game as the nation’s top-ranked team, No. 1 Villanova took control from the start of their 86-59 win at DePaul. Josh Hart led five Wildcats in double figures with 18 points, and Villanova forced 18 DePaul turnovers on the other end.
  • No. 2  Maryland stepped outside of Big Ten (and Division I) play, and they did what was expected in taking care of Division II program Bowie State 93-62. Rasheed Sulaimon scored 16 points in 20 minutes of action, as Mark Turgeon was able to get his key guys some rest ahead of the stretch run.
  • No. 7 Virginia has now won seven straight games, as they beat Virginia Tech 67-49 in Charlottesville. Anthony Gill scored 16 points and Isaiah Wilkins 14 for the Cavaliers, who limited the Hokies to 35.6 percent shooting on the night.
  • No. 19 Dayton erased a ten-point second half deficit, closing the game on a 19-5 run as they beat Duquesne 76-74. Charles Cooke led the way with 22 points and eight rebounds for the Flyers, who won despite Duquesne getting 48 points from Micah Mason (27) and Derrick Colter.
  • No. 22 Kentucky rolled to an 84-48 win over Georgia, as the Bulldogs struggled mightily offensively. Mark Fox’s team shot 22.4 percent from the field and at one point went more than 13 minutes without a field goal. As for Kentucky, Jamal Murray scored 24 points and Tyler Ulis added 14 and eight assists as they won their second straight.
  • No. 25 Wichita State rebounded from its loss at Illinois State over the weekend with a 74-48 win at Drake. Gregg Marshall’s team used a familiar formula: offensive balance (eight players scored six points or more) and stifling defense (Drake shot 25 percent from the field).

OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS

  • Cincinnati rebounded from its loss at Memphis with a 69-51 win at UCF. Kevin Johnson scored 13 points as the Bearcats blew the game open in the second half after leading by a point at the break.
  • Akron has now won seven straight, as they beat Bowling Green 83-68 to move to 9-2 in MAC play (20-4 overall). Antino Jackson scored 20 points and Reggie McAdams and Isaiah Johnson added 15 apiece for the Zips.
  • Monmouth retained its one-game lead atop the MAAC with an 87-61 win at Marist. Justin Robinson and Micah Seaborn scored 16 apiece for the Hawks, who have won their last six games.
  • Ohio State snapped its two-game losing streak with a 71-63 win over Northwestern, which has lost six of its last seven games. Five Buckeyes scored in double figures, led by freshman guard JaQuan Lyle (16 points, six rebounds).
  • Two Galal Cancer free throws with 7.5 seconds remaining gave Kent State a 75-74 win over Northern Illinois. The Golden Flashes remain two games behind Akron in the MAC East standings as a result of the win.

No. 4 Maryland refocuses, slows down No. 18 Purdue

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No. 18 Purdue and No. 4 Maryland exchanged leads for most of the first 33 minutes before the Boilermakers scored five straight points on layups by Rapheal Davis (who was fouled on his make) and Caleb Swanigan. Purdue was getting the touches it wanted around the basket, and Mark Turgeon’s Terrapins weren’t doing a whole lot to keep it from happening either.

Turgeon called a timeout to get his team back in sync defensively, and as a result Maryland went on a 9-0 run that ultimately led to their winning by the final score of 72-61.

Maryland’s big men, Robert Carter Jr. and Diamond Stone, did a much better job down the stretch of keeping Purdue from getting the ball inside to senior center A.J. Hammons. Hammons finished the game with 18 points and ten rebounds, but only two of those points came after Maryland’s 9-0 second half run. But keeping the ball from getting inside is just as much about the players defending the passers as it is keeping the big(s) from getting to his preferred spot.

Defensively Maryland took away the passing angles and essentially made Purdue’s guards make plays, something they’ve struggled with at times this season. That led to far too many perimeter shots for Purdue, which shot 3-for-23 on the day from beyond the arc. Add in the fact that they attempted just five free throws as a team, making two, and areas in which the Boilermakers can benefit went neglected in College Park.

By comparison Maryland was able to make a habit of going to the foul line, shooting 24-for-27 from the charity stripe with Rasheed Sulaimon and Melo Trimble combining to go 17-for-19 on the day. The foul line helped Trimble make up for an off day from the field, as he shot 2-for-12, but the sophomore’s ability to work off of ball screens ultimately opened things up for Maryland even with his shots not falling.

Add in the fact that Sulaimon (21 points, ten rebounds) and Carter (19 points, seven rebounds) were able to pick up the slack, with Diamond Stone adding 12 points and six rebounds, and it’s easy to see why Maryland was able to turn things around down the stretch.

Maryland’s been a good defensive team this season, but they got away from that for a significant portion of Saturday’s game. A key timeout to get the team refocused paid off, the the Terrapins defending at a level that made it incredibly difficult for Purdue to get anything going. And as a result, Maryland remains within a game of leaders Iowa and Indiana in the Big Ten title race.

No. 21 Purdue beats Nebraska 89-74 behind Hammons’ 32

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) A.J. Hammons scored a career-best 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, leading No. 21 Purdue to an 89-74 victory over Nebraska on Saturday.

Rapheal Davis had 17 points and six rebounds, and Isaac Haas scored 13 points for Purdue (19-4, 7-3 Big Ten). Caleb Swanigan contributed six points, 12 rebounds and five assists for the Boilermakers, who improved to 5-0 against Nebraska (12-10, 4-5) in Mackey Arena.

Shavon Shields and Andrew White III each scored 16 to lead the Cornhuskers, who had no answer for 7-footers Hammons and Haas.

Hammons, who had 16 points and eight rebounds in Wednesday’s win at Minnesota, surpassed his previous best of 30, notched in a loss to Indiana on Jan. 30, 2013. He scored the Boilermakers’ first eight points in the second half.

Purdue got a 3-pointer from Davis and a baseline jumper from Swanigan to increase its lead to 76-65 with 6:16 to play. Hammons broke his career high with a dunk with 4:28 remaining for a 78-65 advantage.

Davis’ 3-pointer gave Purdue a 61-51 lead with 12:34 remaining, but back-to-back baskets from Shields and Glynn Watson Jr. trimmed Nebraska’s deficit to 61-55 with 11:49 to play.

A 3-pointed by Watson with 12:52 to go capped an 8-0 Nebraska run and sliced Purdue’s lead to 58-51, prompting a Boilermaker timeout.

Purdue scored the final five points in the first half – a Ryan Cline 3-pointer and a dunk at the buzzer by Hammons following an offensive rebound – for a 44-35 lead.

The Boilermakers shot 51.7 percent (15 of 29) during the first half. Nebraska shot 43.3 percent (13 of 30).

TIP-INS

Nebraska: The Cornhuskers entered Saturday’s game having won three consecutive Big Ten road games. A Nebraska basketball team has not won four consecutive league road games since the 1975-76 season. … The Cornhuskers were playing their first game since an 81-68 loss to Michigan on Jan. 23 in Lincoln, Nebraska. … Nebraska ranks second in the Big Ten in steals, averaging 7.2 per game. … The Cornhuskers have two of the Big Ten’s top eight scorers in No. 6 Andrew White II (16.9) and No. 8 Shavon Shields (15.8).

Purdue: The Boilermakers honored their “Three-Peat” Big Ten championship teams from 1994, `95 and `96, all coached by Gene Keady. … Before playing Nebraska, Purdue had won 19 of 20 home games, losing only to No. 3 Iowa on Jan. 2. … The Boilermakers lead the country in rebounding margin at plus-12.1 and outrebounded each of their first 22 opponents. … Purdue’s non-starters outscored the opposing team’s bench in 21 of the first 22 games.

UP NEXT

Nebraska: Hosts No. 7 Maryland on Wednesday night.

Purdue: Plays at No. 7 Maryland on Saturday.