WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – 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 overall, 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˝-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˝ minutes to close to 63-61.
No. 8 Ohio St. 70, Nebraska 44: At Columbus, Ohio, Deshaun Thomas outscored Nebraska in the first half, 18-17, and finished with 22 points to lead Ohio State (11-2, 1-0) past the Cornhuskers (9-5, 0-1) in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 17 points for Ohio State, which won its 15th consecutive Big Ten home opener. The Buckeyes have a tough test Saturday at Illinois.
No. 16 Creighton 79, Illinois St. 72: At Normal, junior forward Ethan Wragge was 6 of 9 from 3-point range for his 18 points to lead Creighton (13-1, 2-0 Missouri Valley Conference) over Illinois State (9-5, 0-2). Tyler Brown and Bryant Allen each scored 15 points to lead the Redbirds.
Seton Hall 73, DePaul 72: At Rosemont, Fuquan Edwin converted the game-winning layup with 6.9 seconds remaining to give Seton Hall (12-2) a win against DePaul (9-5) in the Big East opener for both teams.
Bradley 66, S. Illinois 60: At Carbondale, Walt Lemon Jr. scored 20 points Wednesday night to help Bradley (10-4, 2-0 Missouri Valley) to a victory over Southern Illinois (7-6, 0-2).
Loyola 63, Valparaiso 54: At Valparaiso, Ind., Ben Averkamp scored 16 points and had four blocked shots as Loyola (10-3) beat Valparaiso (10-5) in the Horizon League opener for both schools.
W. Illinois 39, Savannah St. 35: At Macomb, Adam Link scored 10 points, and Western Illinois (11-3) slipped by Savannah State (5-8), extending their winning streak to eight games. Savannah State led, 23-12, at halftime.