West Lafayette, Ind. — Seth Lundy delivered a flurry of first-half scoring punches.
Mike Watkins capitalized with a quick second-half knockout blow.
Watkins matched a season high with 19 points, Lundy added a career-high 18 and No. 13 Penn State pulled away with a rare 88-76 victory at Purdue on Tuesday.
“I’ve watched every team that’s come in here and it’s a massacre by the media timeout with six minutes to go,” Penn State coach Pat Chambers said.
“So we knew how important that first four (minutes) was going to be. Fortunately, we were in the lead but I just wanted to be right there.”
This win will go down as yet another monumental chapter in the Nittany Lions’ remarkable season.
Penn State made a season-high 14 3s one short of the school record set against Purdue in February 2007, and extended its winning streak to seven.
The Nittany Lions (19-5, 9-4 Big Ten) also snapped a nine-game losing streak in the series, earning their first win at Mackey Arena since Feb. 18, 2006.
And with Lundy and Watkins leading the way, they made it look relatively easy.
Lundy needed only 20 minutes to establish a new career high with four 3s as Penn State ran out to a 42-30 halftime lead. He finished with six 3s.
“We were doing what we normally do, but we weren’t getting them off the (3-point) line,” Purdue guard Jahaad Proctor said. “As shooters, we know once you make a few and the team starts to get going, it’s kind of contagious. We didn’t really adjust and at that point the bucket was kind of big for them and they kept knocking them down.”
Watkins, meanwhile, scored 16 points in the final 20 minutes to help Penn State double the lead to as much as 58-34.
The combination was simply too much for Purdue (14-11, 7-7).
Trevion Williams finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Boilermakers, which had a three-game winning streak end.
But with Penn State firing on all cylinders right, Purdue never had much of a chance.
With Lundy leading the way, six of the Nittany Lions’ first seven baskets came from behind the arc as Penn State pulled out to a 27-16 lead.
The Boilermakers got as close as 33-28 late in the half before Penn State closed the half on a 9-2 run and opened the second half, behind Watkins, on a 13-2 spurt that made it 55-32.
“I think these guys have really learned what they need to do on a nightly basis,” Chambers said. “I think having seniors and leaders and guys that have been there, they understand what they need to do on the road.”
Purdue got as close as 83-76 with 54 seconds remaining, but Penn State closed it out at the free-throw line.
More Big Ten
(At) No. 9 Maryland 72, Nebraska 70: Jalen Smith had 16 points and 13 rebounds, Eric Ayala scored 16 and No. 9 Maryland edged Nebraska to extend its winning streak to seven games and remain alone atop the Big Ten.
After the Terrapins (20-4, 10-3) let a 14-point lead dwindle to 71-70, Smith blocked a shot in the waning seconds and made a free throw on the other end to clinch it.
Donta Scott had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Maryland, and Anthony Cowan Jr. totaled 13 points and 10 assists. Haanif Cheatham scored 20 and Thorir Thorbjarnarson added 15 for Nebraska (7-17, 2-11), which has lost nine straight and is 0-9 on the road. The Cornhuskers got back into the game by going 13 for 20 in the opening 13 minutes of the second half.
Maryland led 56-54 before Ayala sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a layup by Smith for a 10-point cushion with 4:47 to go.
Nebraska wasn’t done. Two free throws by Cam Mack cut it to 71-70 with 12 seconds left before Cowan missed the front end of a 1-and-1.
Mack then drove the lane but had his shot swatted away by the 6-foot-10 Smith, who was subsequently fouled in the chase for the loose ball with less than a second remaining. Smith made the first shot and intentionally clanged the second off the rim.
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon became the fifth coach in school history to reach the 200-victory plateau. Turgeon is 200-96 since taking over for Gary Williams before the 2011-12 season.
Eastern Michigan 73, (at) Central Michigan 70: Ty Groce scored 22 and grabbed 12 rebounds for his first career double-double and Eastern Michigan snapped its seven-game road losing streak.
Groce’s dunk put the Eagles (13-11, 3-8 Mid-American Conference) up 48-46 midway through the second half, but the Chippewas closed to 72-70 with seven seconds left after Deschon Winston made one of two free throws. Noah Morgan hit one of two free throws for the final score and Central Michigan’s Travon Broadway Jr. missed a 3 at the buzzer.
Boubacar Toure scored 20 with 13 rebounds for the Eagles, who trailed 35-28 at halftime.
David DiLeo scored 24 and Broadway tied his career high with 17 points for the Chippewas (13-10, 6-4), who made 14 of 29 3-pointers, led by DiLeo’s 6-of-13.
(At) Ohio 73, Western Michigan 61: Jason Preston had 21 points and 11 rebounds as Ohio defeated Western Michigan.
Ben Vander Plas had 19 points and nine rebounds for Ohio (12-12, 4-7 MAC). Jordan Dartis added 15 points and six steals.
Michael Flowers had 21 points for the Broncos (11-13, 4-7). Rafael Cruz Jr. added 10 points.
The Bobcats evened the season series against the Broncos with the win. Western Michigan defeated Ohio 77-65 on Jan. 4. Ohio plays Kent State on the road on Saturday. Western Michigan plays Eastern Michigan on the road on Saturday.
(At) No 4. San Diego State 82, New Mexico 59: Junior forward Matt Mitchell had 22 points and 12 rebounds for his first double-double and scored his 1,000 career point for No. 4 San Diego State, which beat New Mexico to win the Mountain West Conference championship and remain the nation’s only undefeated team.
Yanni Wetzell added 20 points and nine rebounds for the Aztecs (25-0, 14-0 MWC), who clinched at least a share of the title in the first half when Utah State beat Colorado State, and then won it outright with a suffocating defense that held New Mexico (17-9 6-7) to just 26 points in the second half.
Malachi Flynn had 15 points and Jordan Schakel 11 for SDSU.
Mitchell, a junior forward from Riverside, scored his 1,000th career point on a bank shot early in the second half. That was part of a 9-2 run that expanded SDSU’s 35-33 halftime lead to 44-35.
Vante Hendrix had 20 points for New Mexico.
(At) No. 6 Dayton 81, Rhode Island 67: Obi Toppin scored 22 and led an opening 17-point spurt as Dayton surged past Rhode Island, dominating a match-up of the Toppin brothers and the Atlantic 10’s top teams.
Both teams brought double-digit winning streaks into a chippy game that included seven technical fouls. Dayton (22-2, 11-0) got the better of it in every way, winning its 13th in a row.
Toppin had a double-double with 10 rebounds. Jalen Crutcher scored 21 points, and Trey Landers matched his career high with 14 rebounds.
Fatts Russell had 19 points for Rhode Island (18-6, 10-2).
No. 12 Kentucky 78, (at) Vanderbilt 64: Tyrese Maxey scored 25, and Kentucky rallied from its biggest halftime deficit of the season to beat Vanderbilt.
With the win, Kentucky (19-5, 9-2) keeps a piece of the lead atop the Southeastern Conference standings with Auburn and LSU. The Wildcats also won their eighth straight over Vanderbilt, though this was the fifth time in this streak that they’ve had to rally from a double-digit deficit. This time, they trailed by as much as 14 in the first half and were down 36-27 at halftime.
Vanderbilt is 9-15, 1-10.
(At) No. 25 LSU 82, Missouri 78: Darius Days scored seven of his 20 points in the final five minutes as LSU rallied to beat Missouri.
LSU (18-6, 9-2 Southeastern Conference) trailed by eight points midway through the second half before taking the lead for good at 72-69 on Days’ 3-pointer with 4:43 remaining. Missouri (11-13, 3-8) stayed close over the final minutes.