Champaign, Ill. — Carsen Edwards stepped up when No. 9 Purdue needed a huge performance.
Edwards scored a career-high 40 points and Dakota Mathias added 18 to help the Boilermakers outlast Illinois in a 93-86 victory on Thursday night.
“I know they might not have the best record, but those guys compete. They make it difficult,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “We’re just fortunate enough to have probably the best guard in our league, who can make individual plays, and he did them tonight.”
Edwards was 11-for-19 from the field and 14-for-16 at the line in the first 40-point game for Purdue since Glenn Robinson scored 44 points in a victory against Kansas in the NCAA Tournament in 1994. He also joined Illinois’ Brandon Paul as the only Big Ten players to score 40 points in a conference game in the last 20 years.
“If I played the way I did and we lost, it wouldn’t be as special to me,” Edwards said. “It was a close game all of the way. I’m just glad we came through with the win.”
Purdue (25-5, 14-3) shot 58.3 percent from the field in its second game since Vincent Edwards was sidelined by a left ankle injury. The Boilermakers also went 11-for-23 from 3-point range.
There were eight lead changes in the first half, highlighted by two big runs. With just under 10 minutes left, Edwards stole the ball from Leron Black and went down for a huge dunk to spark a 17-6 run for the Boilermakers. The Illini responded with a 10-3 run to finish the half trailing 43-38.
Trent Frazier helped Illinois rally in the second half, reeling off eight straight points to tie it at 56. Frazier, who was scoreless in the first half, finished with 20 points, six assists and five steals.
The Illini (13-17, 3-14) stayed within striking distance the rest of the game, but Purdue’s size and Edwards’ scoring eventually took over. The sophomore had 25 points in the second half, including a monstrous dunk on Frazier with just under seven minutes to play.
Black led Illinois with 28 points, notching his fourth consecutive 20-point game.
“We fought, we competed,” coach Brad Underwood said. “I’m not going to be happy with it. But we’re gaining ground.”
More Big Ten
Wisconsin 70 (at) Northwestern 64: Ethan Happ scored 19 points in another impressive all-around performance and Andy Van Vliet had 14 in a surprise attack on Northwestern's zone defense as Wisconsin spoiled the Wildcats' Senior Night. Khalid Iverson added 16 points and Happ, a 6-foot-10 junior, filled out the box score with seven rebounds, four steals, three assists and three blocked shots as the young Badgers (14-16, 7-10 Big Ten) put together their first three-game winning streak of the conference season. Senior point guard Bryant McIntosh fought through a shoulder injury that sidelined him the previous two games to score a game-high 26 points for Northwestern (15-15, 6-11). Senior Scottie Lindsey added 18 for the short-handed Wildcats, who dressed just eight players and were without Vic Law (foot), their third-leading scorer.
Green Bay 96, (at) Oakland 90: The Golden Grizzlies (17-13, 9-8 Horizon) blew a seven-point halftime lead. Kendrick Nunn scored 39 for Oakland. Green Bay is 11-9, 6-11.
Milwaukee 72, (at) Detroit Mercy 49: Corey Allen scored 13 for the Titans (8-22, 4-13). Milwaukee is 15-15, 8-9.
(At) Michigan Tech 81, Wayne State 78 (OT): Ronald Booth scored 24 for the Warriors (14-10, 12-7). Kyle Monroe’s 29 led Michigan Tech (14-12, 11-8).
Wayne State 71, (at) Michigan Tech 69: Nastassja Chambers had 23 points on 8-for-9 shooting and Shannon Wilson had 21 points and six assists as the Warriors (19-6, 14-5 GLIAC) beat the 17th-ranked Huskies (22-4, 16-3). Kelli Guy had 30 points for Michigan Tech.
No. 6 Gonzaga 77, (at) San Diego 72: Killian Tillie scored 17 points, Rui Hachimura added 16 and Gonzaga (26-4, 16-1) clinched at least a share of the West Coast Conference title. Olin Cater III led San Diego (17-12, 8-9) with 21 points.
(At) No. 11 Cincinnati 77, UConn 52: Gary Clark scored 10 of his 17 points during Cincinnati’s decisive spurt, and the Bearcats (24-4, 13-3 American Athletic) shook off consecutive losses by beating short-handed Connecticut Christian Vital scored 15 points and Terry Larrier had 14 for the Huskies (13-15, 6-9).
No. 14 Arizona 75, (at) Oregon State 65 (OT): Deandre Ayton had 19 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, helping Arizona (22-6, 12-3 Pac-12) to the road win without guard Allonzo Trier. Trier was declared ineligible by the NCAA after a trace amount of a banned substance was found during a late January drug screening, according to a university statement. Ethan Thompson had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Beavers (13-14, 5-10).
No. 22 Saint Mary’s 75, (at) Pepperdine 61:Jordan Ford had 18 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, and Saint Mary’s (26-4, 15-2 West Coast Conference) rolled to the victory. Trae Berhow and Knox Hellums each scored 13 points for Pepperdine (4-25, 1-16).
(At) Memphis 91, No. 23 Houston 85: Jimario Rivers and Raynere Thornton each scored 21 points, helping Memphis (17-11, 8-7 American Athletic Conference) to its third straight victory. Rob Gray had 30 points and seven assists for Houston (21-6, 11-4), which entered the Top 25 this week for the first time this season.