Purdue takes easy rout past Eastern Illinois 83-55
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP)
The Boilermakers (4-0) continued a trend of winning every other game by a blowout and topped 75 points for the sixth straight time dating to last season - their longest streak since an eight-game span during the 1997-98 season.
Eastern Illinois (2-2) was led by Reggie Smith with 11 points and Sherman Blanford with nine on a night it shot just 32.8 percent from the field against a defense that ranks at or near the bottom of the Big Ten in nearly every major category.
Purdue made it look easy, too, breaking to a 12-0 lead, extending the margin 16 late in the first half and to as much as 31 in the second half.
Eastern Illinois never got closer than 10 after scoring its first points.
For Purdue, it was a complete role reversal after coming into the game with the Big Ten's No. 3 scoring offense and the league's No. 12 scoring defense.
But this time, Eastern Illinois couldn't generate much offense at all.
The Panthers missed their first 10 shots, were just 9 of 23 in the first half and 19 of 58 for the game and finished 3 of 17 on 3-pointers. Heck, Eastern Illinois couldn't even make free throws - going 14 of 24 from the free-throw line.
With the Panthers' shooters struggling, the Boilermakers didn't have to come close to their 90-point per game pace.
Instead, Purdue stayed patient and exploited its big size advantage for a 10-point scoring edge in the paint.
And it looked every bit as easy as the score indicated.
After starting with the double-digit lead, Purdue went up 27-11 on Terone Johnson's three-point play with 6:21 left in the half.
Eastern Illinois did hang around for a while, getting as close as 32-22 when leading scorer Reggie Smith, the UNLV transfer, made two free throws with 2:04 left in the half.
But Purdue answered with a 6-2 mini-run to make it 38-24 at halftime, seized complete control early in the second half when Rapheal Davis hit a 3 to make it 47-27 with 17:49 left and continued pulling away late.