Mike Davis goes up for a dunk over Purdue guard Lewis Jackson in the first half. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Dec. 30, 2008
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Illinois used the team concept on offense and its best defender at the other end of the court to get the Big Ten season off to a great start.
The Fighting Illini had 21 assists on 30 field goals, helped each other enough against No. 9 Purdue's attacking man-to-man defense to commit just six turnovers and Chester Frazier shut down Robbie Hummel in a 71-67 overtime victory Tuesday night.
"We just stayed together," Illinois guard Trent Meacham said. "We made some big plays down the stretch. The second half, we stayed together when we thought we had it in regulation, then when they hit a free throw and it went to overtime, we stayed together. We believed that we could win, and that was huge for us."
E'Twaun Moore scored 17 points and JaJuan Johnson had 16 points and 15 rebounds for Purdue (11-3), which had won its previous six games. Hummel, Purdue's leading scorer, was held to seven points and took just seven shots. He had 11 rebounds.
Illinois coach Bruce Weber said stopping Hummel was the key and he was Frazier's assignment for most of the game.
"We just thought Robbie was the key to them," Weber said. "He's a point-forward, he's great trailing on the break, he makes plays, they run things through him. Chester's our best defender."
But part of the reason Hummel didn't get the ball was poor shot selection by the Boilermakers and an inability to finish. Purdue had 13 assists and 12 turnovers.
Despite their struggles, the Boilermakers could have won in regulation, but Johnson missed the second of two free throws with 1.9 seconds left to force overtime.
"I just wanted to hit it and help the team," he said. "Hit the first one, and the second one just didn't fall."
Purdue was 15-of-27 from the free throw line and shot 38 percent from the field in the game.
"Usually, that doesn't happen with this team," Johnson said. "I know we'll be all right. We're just having some bad shooting games. Not to take from Illinois. They played a great game, they played together as a team. We'll definitely get it going."
Illinois has gotten the best of a budding rivalry lately. The Fighting Illini upset Purdue in the second round of the Big Ten tournament last season when the Boilermakers were seeded second and Illinois 10th.
The Fighting Illini aren't on a mission for respect, but they believe they'll get it if they stay on course.
"Hopefully we did make a little bit of a statement, but you can't worry about if we're ranked or not ranked," Meacham said. "You just have to continue to stay as a team and continue to improve."
In overtime, Purdue jumped out quickly with baskets by Hummel and Lewis Jackson, but Illinois scored the next nine points and never trailed again. The Fighting Illini made seven of eight free throws in the final minute to keep the Boilermakers at bay.
Purdue had the ball, trailing 67-64 in the final minute of overtime. Moore drove to the basket but had his shot blocked by Frazier and Illinois rebounded. McCamey made two free throws with 12.7 seconds left to put Illinois in control for good.
With just under 4 minutes left in regulation and Illinois leading 50-49, McCamey drove to the basket, but Johnson slammed his shot against the backboard. Purdue quickly advanced the ball, and Hummel drained a long jumper to give Purdue its first lead of the second half.
Tisdale committed his fifth foul while battling Johnson for a rebound with 2:05 to go. Johnson made both free throws after Tisdale's foul to give Purdue a 55-52 lead. Meacham's layup made it 55-54.
Purdue's Keaton Grant missed a bank shot, and Illinois took possession in the final minute with a chance to take the lead. Illinois' Calvin Brock put up a quick mid-range jumper, and Johnson rebounded for Purdue.
Moore drove to the hoop and put up an awkward, off-balance shot that missed badly, and Illinois rebounded to earn a chance at the win.
Meacham drove and passed to Davis, who made a bank shot with 6.3 seconds left to give Illinois a 56-55 lead.
Purdue quickly pushed the ball, and Jackson found Johnson for a fadeaway jumper from the left baseline, and Davis fouled him with 1.9 seconds left. Johnson made the first free throw, but missed the second to force overtime.
Tisdale didn't like watching overtime from the bench, but he wasn't worried.
"It's pretty rough, but I know this team pretty well," he said. "People step up at different times. In overtime, I think everybody did their job."
Grant said there shouldn't have been overtime.
"At the end of the day it comes down to stops," he said. "We needed one more stop, one more rebound. It shouldn't have got to overtime. We should have finished it in regulation."