Purdue steals important road win over Illinois in 2OT thriller
When the first 20 minutes expired in Champaign on Monday afternoon, Purdue looked like it was well on its way to posting an impressive road win over Illinois. While it was eventually the case, the Fighting Illini made things incredibly difficult.
Purdue closed out the first half on a 17-2 run after trailing 24-20, building a 37-26 advantage at halftime. Despite rough shooting halves from Jaden Ivey and Trevion Williams, the Boilermakers appeared to be cruising to an important B1G win.
Illinois stormed back in the second half, though, thanks to big performances from Alfonso Plummer and Andre Curbelo, both hitting some clutch shots down the stretch.
With 1:14 remaining in regulation, the Boilers owned a 69-63 lead. Trent Frazier and Curbelo scored on back-to-back possessions to cut the Purdue lead down to 2 points with less than 30 seconds to play.
Purdue’s Jaden Ivey went to the foul line with a chance to make it a two-possession game, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Curbelo was responsible for the game-tying bucket, which sent the contest to overtime.
Again, the Boilers owned a lead late in overtime with a chance to close the game out, but a bucket from Plummer with less than 10 seconds left and a missed 3-point attempt from Ivey sent the game two a second OT.
With Kofi Cockburn on the bench after fouling out in overtime, Purdue was able to utilize its depth and size, maintaining a lead from the 4:08 mark on in the final 5 minutes.
Free throws from Eric Hunter Jr. and Trevion Williams down the stretch secured a 96-88 win for Purdue.
Purdue was led by Sasha Stefanovic, who scored 22 points and knocked down 5-of-8 shots from behind the 3-point line. Zach Edey had 20 points and 8 rebounds and Ivey scored 19 and also had 8 boards.
Off the bench, Purdue got 14 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists from Trevion Williams. Hunter Jr. added 11 points.
The Boilermakers came through at the free throw line, knocking down 26-of-32 attempts.
Cockburn was a non-factor for most of the game, scoring just 10 points and grabbing 5 rebounds in the loss. Plummer led the Illini in scoring with 24 and Curbelo added 20 points and 6 boards off the bench. Frazier also hit double figures with a 16-point performance.
Purdue improved to 15-2 on the season with the victory. Illinois is now 13-4 and suffered its first B1G loss of the season.