Terone Johnson scored 16 points and A.J. Hammons overcame a sore right knee to finish with 14 points Saturday, leading Purdue past pesky William & Mary 73-66.
The Boilermakers (6-6) won their second straight to reach the .500 mark before starting Big Ten play. They barely avoided a fourth loss this season to a non-BCS conference school after an 11-day Christmas break.
William & Mary (7-4) was led by Marcus Thornton with 21 points and Tim Rusthoven with 16 points and six rebounds. The Tribe dropped to 1-5 all-time against Big Ten schools.
Purdue struggled to put the game away until a late surge. Each time it looked like the Boilermakers were about to pull away, the Tribe came right back.
But Jacob Lawson broke a 58-58 tie with a layup with 7:46 to go, and the Boilermakers outscored William & Mary 13-8 the rest of the way.