Men’s college basketball took center stage Sunday, and all eyes were on the Big Ten as No. 5 Purdue narrowly escaped Illinois in the first matchup of the season between these two squads.
The starting five for the fifth-ranked Boilermakers were Mason Gillis, Fletcher Loyer, Brandon Newman, Braden Smith and 2023 Wooden Award finalist Zach Edey. With Sunday’s start, Smith and Loyer became the first freshmen to start every regular-season game for Purdue since Russell Cross in 1981.
On the other side, the Illini were led by guard Dain Dainja, Coleman Hawkins, Matthew Mayer, RJ Melendez and star guard Terrence Shannon. Illinois is now 11-9 in conference matchups after Sunday’s loss, while the Boilermakers improved to 14-2 in home games.
It all went down Sunday at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana — and we had you covered with every must-see moment from start to finish, exclusively on FOX and the FOX Sports App.
Here are the top moments!
Purdue went on an 11-0 run to start, shutting out Illinois for nearly the first three and a half minutes of the game.
Purdue shot 5-for-7 from the field right out of the gate to Iead Illinois 11-4 at the first official TV timeout.
Newman led the way with five points, two steals and an assist early.
Trey Kaufman-Renn came off the bench for Purdue and wasted no time making his presence known.
The Illini had a few tricks up their sleeve as well, as Sencire Harris hit a wide-open 3 to get him up to seven points in just four minutes off the bench.
Purdue led 21-13 on 9-for-12 shooting near the midway mark of the first half, but Illinois kept things dangerously close. By the game’s third official TV timeout, Illinois had cut Purdue’s lead to five points, 25-20, with 7:28 to play before the half.
Edey came up with a huge block on Dainja, whose missed jumper kept it a five-point game as the clock winded down.
Smith hit the 3 for Purdue, while Illinois’ Harris hit the deck after colliding with Kaufman-Renn late in the first half.
What can’t he do?
Smith continued to lead the way for the home team, cashing in big before the first half came to a close.
Star of the show
Purdue shot 62.1% (18 of 29), including 50.0% from distance, in the first half. Meanwhile, Illinois shot just 40% (10 of 25), including 12.5% (1 of 8) from the 3-point line.
The Boilermakers led 47-26 at the break after forcing 11 turnovers.
Dainja gave the Illini a big swing of momentum in the second half, thanks to this impressive jam early in the frame.
It was a back-and-forth battle as the final few minutes approached.
Shannon accounted for a huge block late in the frame, as Illinois pulled within four points, 65-61, with 3:54 to play.
After being down as many as 24 points in the second half, Illinois charged back to tie things up 67-all with 1:17 remaining.
Securing the W
In the end, Purdue was able to cling to the lead and secure the home win, 76-71.
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