No. 7 Purdue pounds Indiana at home
Chris Kramer's performance on Senior Night was nearly perfect.
The only thing that could top it for him would be helping Purdue win a Big Ten championship.
Kramer had a season-high 18 points and six assists in his final home game to help the No. 7 Boilermakers beat Indiana 74-55 on Wednesday night.
If Purdue wins at Penn State on Saturday, the Boilermakers will earn a share of the conference title. It would be Purdue's first regular-season championship since 1996.
"It's something nobody can take away from you," Kramer said. "It would mean a lot to us."
Kramer did his part to put his team in position. The guard, known as a defensive stopper, shot 7 of 8 from the field and had six assists.
"Chris will have a game like that every blue moon," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "He stepped up tonight and made shots."
It was Purdue's first win since losing versatile forward Robbie Hummel for the season to a torn ACL in his right knee.
E'Twaun Moore scored 21 points and JaJuan Johnson added 14 points, seven rebounds and four blocks for the Boilermakers (25-4, 13-4 Big Ten), who bounced back from a loss to Michigan State on Sunday that came in their first game without Hummel. Purdue scored just 44 points against the Spartans, but the Boilermakers shot 49 percent against the Hoosiers.
"I think we're getting used to playing without Robbie," senior Keaton Grant said. "Robbie makes everything a lot easier. We just had to get in the flow of not playing with him. We got in a rhythm."
Hummel, Moore and Johnson have been the headliners the past three years, but Indiana coach Tom Crean said Kramer deserves his due.
"As good as those three are who get a ton of the credit, he is the energy source," Crean said. "He just out-toughs you, and his will is so strong. We need to put a picture of him up in our coaches' office because that's the kind of guy we need to have in our program."
Kramer, who is 6-foot-3, even guarded Indiana's post players at times.
"I don't think there's any matchup that he loses over a consistent period of time," Crean said. "He's too athletic, and he's just too tough and strong."
Verdell Jones III scored 15 points and Derek Elston added 13 points and seven rebounds for Indiana (9-20, 3-14), which lost its 11th straight game.
"We knew coming into this game tonight, with the battle cry they have of playing without Robbie and the fact that they had the loss that they had on Sunday to MSU, that we would really, really have to play well, and we didn't," Crean said.
Purdue got off to a much better start against Indiana than against Michigan State. The Boilermakers made six of their first eight shots to take a 13-5 lead.
Moore scored nine points in the first 6 1/2 minutes to put the Boilermakers up 18-8. They shot 56 percent to lead 38-25 at the break.
Purdue continued to roll early in the second half. A 3-pointer by Kramer put the Boilermakers up 48-31.
Indiana's Jordan Hulls made a 3 in transition to trim Purdue's lead to 12 and force the Boilermakers to call a timeout.
Moore scored six points during a 10-3 run that gave the Boilermakers a 59-39 lead midway through the second half, and the crowd showed its appreciation with a standing ovation.
Painter was happy to see Moore get his offensive game going after he shot 3 for 13 against Michigan State.
"I think the ball went in, more than anything," Painter said. "You're not going to have as much space when Rob Hummel isn't in there. Against Michigan State, he never got on track.
"The ball is going back to him, and he knows it. We're going through JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore. When [Moore] gets going, we're going to be pretty good."
Kramer made his first six shots, but his perfect shooting night ended when his seventh attempt rolled in and out with 12:20 remaining.
Grant was replaced with 1:41 to play, and Kramer with 1:26 remaining. Now, the Boilermakers will look forward to Penn State, with a chance to add a regular-season title to the Big Ten tournament championship they won last year.
"We needed to get back on track so we can finish the season strong," Grant said. "We've got one game, 40 minutes, to get us another ring. That's the most important thing."