Updated: Thursday, 03 Jan 2013, 12:00 AM EST
Published : Thursday, 03 Jan 2013, 12:00 AM EST
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Purdue figured out how to slow the pace -- and still score a little, too, Wednesday night.
Terone Johnson finished with a career-high 25 points and D.J. Byrd scored nine of his 15 during a key 19-3 second-half run, sending the Boilermakers past No. 11 Illinois 68-61.
Byrd sealed the game with a three-point play with 20.1 seconds to go.
The Boilermakers (7-6, 1-0 Big Ten) have won three straight and are over .500 for the first time this season. They have won eight straight over the Fighting Illini.
Illinois (13-2, 0-1) was led by Brandon Paul with 15 points and Joseph Bertrand with 14, but managed only one basket during a decisive 5 1/2-minute stretch of the second half. Illinois has lost eight straight conference road games, dating to a Jan. 4, 2012 win at Northwestern.
Its losing streak against Purdue is the school's longest against a Big Ten foe since dropping nine straight to Purdue from 1996 to 2000.
Still, it took everything the Boilermakers had to hang on when Illinois rallied from a 10-point deficit over the final 3 1/2 minutes to close to 63-61.
But Byrd put that away by grabbing an inbounds pass, tossing in a layup, drawing a foul and hitting the free throw to make it a two-possession game.
It looked like Illinois' misery might end when it opened the game by going 6 of 10 from the field and 5 of 7 from 3-point range. That helped them hang on to a 33-31 halftime lead. The Illini extended the margin to 45-39 when Tyler Griffin hit a 3-pointer with 12:03 to play.
But Byrd and 7-foot freshman A.J. Hammons rallied Purdue.
After Johnson scored on a putback, Byrd knocked down a 3 to make it 45-44. Hammons scored on a short hook shot to give Purdue the lead and Byrd followed that with consecutive 3s. When Johnson drove in for a layup Purdue led 55-48 with 6:36 to play, and they led by as much as 61-51 with about 3 minutes to go.
This time the Illini closed the deficit to 61-58 with the second of two 3s by Paul 3s with 1:45 left.
After Purdue's Ronnie Johnson scored, Richardson answered with his only 3 of the game to make it 63-61 with 28.4 seconds left.
But Byrd closed it out with the three-point play on Purdue's next possession.
Ground rules for posting comments: No profanity or personal attacks. No racially charged comments. If it's not something you would say to someone's face, it's most likely inappropriate. Please comment on the subject of the story itself. If you do not follow these rules, we will remove your post. Repeat offenders will be banned from making future comments. Keep it civil, folks! WANE is not responsible for the content posted in this comment section.