WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue finally beat Indiana with its tenacity Tuesday night.
E'Twaun Moore scored 25 points and JaJuan Johnson added 15 on his birthday to help the 14th-ranked Boilermakers pull away from Indiana for a 67-53 victory.
The celebration doesn't get any better than this for the two seniors, who have helped spark a resurgence in Boilermakers basketball. They have won 100 games in their careers and it came with a fourth straight over their most bitter rival. It's the first time since 1996-97 that Purdue (19-5, 8-3 Big Ten) has taken four straight from the Hoosiers.
Indiana, which played again without injured sophomore starters Maurice Creek and Christian Watford, hung around most of the game. Freshman Will Sheehey scored a season-high 14 points and Bloomington native Jordan Hulls finished with 13 to lead the Hoosiers (12-13, 3-9), who fell under the .500 mark for the first time this season. They have also lost four straight at Mackey Arena, where they last won March 1, 2006.
Still, it didn't go the way most people expected.
Conventional wisdom suggested Johnson would exploit Indiana in the paint. While he scored 15 points and had eight rebounds, the Hoosiers contested his shots and forced him to go 4 of 10 from the field.
Instead, it was Moore doing the big damage, hitting three 3-pointers. He finished 7 of 15 from the field, had eight rebounds and fueled most of Purdue's big runs.
But the Hoosiers had plenty of chances.
They used a 6-0 run late in the first half to close to 25-24, then watched Purdue score the final six points of the half to take a 31-24 lead.
Purdue extended the lead to 52-41 with 8:04 to play, but Indiana came right back. Sheehey's dunk with 5:20 to go made it 54-49.
The Boilermakers finally closed it out by making nine of 10 free throws in the final 2:09.
Lewis Jackson had 13 points for the Boilermakers.
Verdell Jones had 10 points for Indiana, which was trying to beat a ranked team for the third time since Jan. 27.