WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Brandon Newman scored 19 points and Zach Edey added 17 as No. 5 Purdue held on to beat Illinois 76-71 on Sunday.
Braden Smith added 15 points for the Boilermakers (26-5, 15-5 Big Ten). It is the first time a team has won the league title by three or more games since 2014..
Edey, who entered the game with 23 double-doubles, finished with six rebounds. He was slowed by playing just 8 minutes in the fist half after picking up two fouls.
The Boilermakers led by 24 early in the second half before the Illini rallied. Matthew Mayer led the Illini (20-11, 11-9) with 16 points. Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 13, Sencire Harris 11 and Luke Goode 10 points.
The Illini tied the game at 67 on a free throw by Mayer with 1:17 to go. Edey’s layup gave Purdue a 69-67 edge with 56 seconds to go. Illinois turned the ball over with 31 seconds left.
Purdue's Fletcher Loyer sank two free throws to push the lead to 71-67 after an immediate foul. Mayer missed a 3-point shot and Newman hit two free throws to push the lead to 73-67 with 16 seconds left.
Goode hit a 3-pointer to close the gap to 74-71 with 7 seconds left. Newman hit two free throws to seal it for Purdue with 5 seconds left.
Newman scored 15 points in the first half to help the Boilermakers to a 47-26 halftime lead.
The Boilermakers shot 62% in the first half. but just 29% in the second half.
Illinois: The Illini had won three of four game coming in but struggled with turnovers and outside shooting in the first half. However, the Illini showed fight by climbing back from a 24-point deficit early in the second half to tie it late.
Purdue: Following a stretch of losing four of six games, the Boilermakers have gotten some momentum by winning two in a row. Purdue allowed the Illini back into the game by costly turnovers.
With victories over Wisconsin and Illinois, Purdue should remain in the top 5 heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
Illinois: Awaiting seed in the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago.
Purdue: As No. 1 seed, the Boilermakers will play Friday in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals in Chicago.