Illini Men Drop Third Straight, 66-58 To Purdue
By Rob McColley
The Illini men dropped their third straight Big Ten game Wednesday night. A.J. Hammons scored 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks to lead Purdue to a 66-58 win in Champaign.
Boilermaker coach Matt Painter said rebounding was the difference. Illini coach John Groce agreed.
"Especially in the second half," he said. "Twenty-three to seven they out-rebounded us. That's unacceptable. They were tougher than us physically, and they threw us around like a bunch of rag dolls."
The final rebound tally was 42-to-28 in favor of Purdue. Tracy Abrams scored 13 for Illinois, and Rayvonte Rice eleven. But they had eleven and ten, respectively, at halftime.
By contrast, Joe Bertrand scored 9 of his 11, and Jon Ekey all of his six points after the break. Freshmen Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn added seven and eight respectively.
Illinois hurt itselt at the free-throw line, missing the front end on each of its 1-an-1 opportunities. The Boilermakers improved to 2-and-2 in the Big Ten and 12-and-5 overall.
Illinois drops to 13-and-5 and 2-and-3 in conference play.