EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) – Zach Edey had 14 points and eight rebounds, and the No. 5 Purdue took the top spot in the Big Ten with a solid 70-64 victory over Northwestern on Wednesday night.
Capping an eight-game streak in 21 days, the Boilermakers (23-4, 12-4) shot 45% from the field and committed 14 turnovers – a slow performance from one of the most efficient teams in the country. But they held the Wildcats to 35 percent shooting and controlled the glass with a 39-34 rebounding advantage.
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Mason Gillis and Eric Hunter Jr. each scored 11 points as Purdue edged No. 12 Illinois by a half game for first place in the conference. The Boilermakers swept their season streak against the Illini.
Robbie Beran had 13 points for Northwestern (12-12, 5-10) and Pete Nance finished with 12. The Wildcats have lost their last 11 games against the Boilermakers, also losing 80-60 in their first meeting of the season on January 23.
Northwestern held off two of Purdue’s best players, limiting Jaden Ivey to eight points on 2-for-12 shooting and Trevion Williams to four points. Ivey was averaging a team-high 17.4 points and Williams was averaging 12.3 points.
But Edey scored 12 points to help Purdue take a 32-28 halftime lead, and Gillis and Sasha Stefanovic made big plays in the stretch.
The Boilermakers took control by opening the second half with a 7-0 series. Ivey converted a three-point play on an Edey assist, making it 39-28 with 17:59 to go.
Northwestern shot within seven on a 3-pointer from Julian Roper II, but Purdue responded with a 10-2 run. Gillis and Stefanovic each hit a 3 before the Williams jumper made it 62-47 with 6:39 left.
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Purdue: Ignoring their slow offensive start, the Boilermakers tied the school’s best start in 27 games since going 25-2 in the 1987-88 season. The Boilermakers were also 23-4 in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2010 and 2018.
Northwest: Ryan Young suffered a hand injury with 9:48 left on another tough night for the Wildcats. Boo Buie, who was averaging a team-high 15.1 points, was shut out in the first half. He finished with 11 points on 3-for-10 shooting.
Purdue: Hosts Rutgers on Sunday.
Northwest: Minnesota Saturday afternoon.
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