No. 3 Purdue survives Rutgers scare for 19th straight win, 78-76
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Vincent Edwards had 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, and No. 3 Purdue held on to beat Rutgers 78-76 on Saturday for a school-record 19th straight win.
Dakota Mathias scored 16 points, Carsen Edwards had 13 and P.J. Thompson added 12 points for the Boilermakers (23-2, 12-0 Big Ten).
Corey Sanders had 31 points and seven rebounds, and Deshawn Freeman added 14 points and nine rebounds for Rutgers (12-13, 2-10), which overcame a 15-point first-half deficit looked poised to pull off an upset at home.
Freeman’s fastbreak dunk cut Purdue’s lead to six, forcing Boilermakers coach Matt Painter to call a timeout with 15:29 to go. However, Matt Bullock corralled a defensive rebound on the ensuing possession and hit Sanders with an outlet pass and he made the fastbreak layup and the foul shot to pull the Scarlet Knights to 46-43.
Rutgers pulled within one on two occasions. Shaquile Doorson had a put-back dunk off of Geo Baker’s missed layup to get to 48-47 with 12:28 left, and Freeman had a tip-in on a miss by Sanders to make it 55-54 with 8:06 remaining, However, that was as close as the Scarlet Knights got the rest of the way.
Rutgers took a 3-0 lead on a Issa Thiam 3-pointer. Purdue tied it 29 seconds later after Thiam fouled P.J. Thompson on a 3-pointer. Carsen Edwards stole the ball and hit a layup on Rutgers’ ensuing possession to give the Boilermakers their first lead. They led 38-27 at halftime.
Purdue: The Boilermakers’ winning streak is the longest in the nation and has them atop the conference standings. They’ll look to improve their home winning streak to 22 – the third-longest in school history – when they host No. 17 Ohio State. A win would give them a bit of a cushion in what has become a three-team race for the Big Ten title between Purdue, Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan State.
Rutgers: Bruised and battered, Rutgers continues to struggle. With senior captain Mike Williams (ankle) out for the past two weeks and Eugene Omoruyi out for several weeks to recover from a knee injury suffered at Illinois, the undermanned Scarlet Knights fell to below .500 for the first time all season and have now lost five-straight, sitting alone at the bottom of the Big Ten.
Purdue: The Boilermakers return home to host No. 17 Ohio State on Wednesday night.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights host Indiana on Tuesday night.