The story of the first half was great defense by IL and the continued emergence of superstar guard, Alan Griffin. "Every freshman has to grow up and Alan's now just starting to play with some confidence and we're starting to see that every day". IL shoots 47.1 percent from the field and bring down 41.7 rebounds per game. That 25-percent shooting is worst in the Boilermakers' recorded history.
Stefanovic led Purdue with just eight points. Eric Hunter Jr. leads the team with assists with 3.4 dishes per game.
The Illini men's basketball team beat Purdue 63-37 last night in Champaign.
"I remember a couple of years ago, we held Carsen (Edwards) to 40 points here", Underwood said, referring to the former Purdue star and current Boston Celtics guard.
The biggest gap between the teams on the night lay in bench scoring, as Purdue's five points from its reserves were greatly outnumbered by the efforts of Griffin, Andres Feliz and Kipper Nichols. IL also featured 30 points compared to Purdue's 14.
IL was coming off a tough 76-56 loss at No. 14 Michigan State on Thursday. "He's doing an elite job of running the floor, he's finding his threes", Underwood said. We just wanted them to go further, and they did. "We showed the team nothing from the Michigan State game, not one clip".
Frazier was more blunt after the game.
IL took a tough loss to Michigan State on the road but don't forget that IL already defeated Michigan at home earlier in December.
"We were called a lot tonight", said Underwood. "I thought our pace and pace were excellent". The Fighting Illini are led by Ayo Dosunmu who averages 15.8 points per game. Frazier also fired up the crowd with a spectacular underhand layup late in the first half after forcing a turnover at midcourt.
Griffin took six offensive boards, many of which came in the first half.
"One of the goals the coach gives us is to see how many offensive rebounds we can get", he said.
IL needed a big home win after the loss to Michigan State No. 14 and got it Sunday. The Illini hit all cylinders of the opening dot.
With Purdue facing No. 12 MI this week, this one hurt.
Purdue: stands for an even more hard Big Ten team when traveling to MI on Thursday.
The win could be a turning point in conference play, as they now return to.500 and head off to Madison for a matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers before heading home for two very winnable games against Rutgers and Northwestern.