CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Gene Keady wasn't happy going into
Saturday's game against Illinois (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP). The Purdue coach said his team
had been playing like teams it used to beat in losing three of its
last five games.
"We started playing some basketball again today," Keady said
after the Boilermakers (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) snapped Illinois'
six-game winning streak with a 58-54 victory. "We got back to
David Teague led a balanced scoring attack with 15 points and
the Boilermakers forced the Illini to take bad shot after bad shot.
"We lost our defensive intensity after the Central Michigan
game (Dec. 13) and we just wanted to come back and bring that
back," Teague said. "We just had trust and confidence in each
other out there on the defensive end and our offense just started
to feed off of our defense."
Purdue's 11-2 second-half run made the difference for the
Boilermakers (11-4, 1-1 Big Ten), who handed Illinois (10-3, 1-1)
their first home loss in 24 games.
After Illinois' Dee Brown hit a 3 to give the Illini a 42-40
lead with 10:01 to go, Teague scored five of the next nine points
to put Purdue up 49-42 with 7:06 left and the Illini could get no
closer than five points.
"They got out and pressured us," Brown said. "They're one of
the best defensive teams in the conference and they really got out
and played great defense on us."
Matt Keifer scored 12 points and Brandon McKnight had 11 for
Purdue, which held Illinois to 37 percent shooting, far off its 46
percent season average.
"With the great crowd that they have, you knew that they were
going to make some runs and we just had to be patient and get our
offense going, pass the ball at least five times, work up a sweat
before you take a shot," Teague said.
The game was the first matchup ever between Keady and Illinois'
Bruce Weber, who spent 18 seasons as his assistant.
"We could never get a run to break their spirit," said Weber,
who also criticized his team's preparation after seeing Purdue lose
its league opener by 10 points at Iowa.
"I just blame myself because I didn't get them prepared," he
said. "A championship team, the players want it just as much as
the coaches. And right now, I don't think our players want it as
much as us. I'm not sure they understand yet."
Neither team had a fastbreak basket.
"Their two guards are the focal point of their offense,"
Teague said. "They can really get out and run. Our main thing was
to get two guys back and stop their transition game."
Purdue had a big advantage at the free throw line, going
14-of-16, while Illinois was only 3-of-6.
The game was physical, befitting the Purdue-Illinois rivalry.
Brown went down with 1:32 left in the first half after getting an
elbow in the midsection from Kenneth Lowe.
As he walked to the bench, Brown sent a disgusted look toward
the Purdue bench. He was back on the court after the next whistle.
The Illini were tight early, missing five of their first six
shots as Purdue took a 15-6 lead. Illinois scored eight points off
10 turnovers in the half and a 6-2 run cut the deficit to 22-20 at
Referee Ted Hillary twisted his ankle in the first half and had
to leave the court, but he returned a few minutes later and
finished the game.