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February 15, 2014

Rivalry rout

Purdue-Indiana box score

It hasn't been often this season you've seen Purdue's players as animated as they were during their second-half rout of rival Indiana Saturday night, on their way to a cathartic 82-64 win.

"It's been a frustrating last couple of games for us, but a win like this is just so important," senior Terone Johnson said, "not only for us, but for our fans, our families, our Purdue family. This is a big rivalry for us and to get it in the fashion that we did, why not celebrate?"

In their most emotionally charged environment of the season, the Boilermakers put together one of their most complete games, earning a rare decisive victory this Big Ten season.

Purdue played one of its best offensive games, paced by red-hot shooting from senior Sterling Carter, whose first, and likely last, taste of this storied rivalry was highlighted by his 5-of-6 three-point shooting and team- and season-high 19 points. Carter was the "difference in the game," per his coach, Matt Painter.

Overall, the Boilermakers made 10-of-18 from deep and shot 57 percent in the decisive second half.

"We played with more life," Painter said, "but it's easier to do that when you make shots."

It shared the ball on offense, with Terone Johnson doing a nice job in the first half passing out of the middle of Indiana's zone defenses and Bryson Scott playing the role of facilitator throughout the game and wearing it well, finishing with four assists, including three on three straight buckets during a first half defined by runs made by each teams.

On defense, Purdue let Yogi Ferrell get his 27 points, but made him work for all of them, the IU point guard and Big Ten leading scorer going 6-of-17 from the floor.

Indiana overall shot just 32 percent. Its 14 turnovers don't reflect how giveaways affected its ability to gain much traction in the game's opening minutes.

After a first half that saw the two teams trade runs, the game changed when a Purdue team that's botched so many end-of-half sequences came up big on one.

With a few seconds left and Purdue up two, Ferrell's three-pointer rimmed out. Basil Smotherman rebounded and was fouled on the floor, 94 feet from Indiana's basket.

The freshman made the first free throw, missed the second. But Errick Peck kept the rebound alive and Smotherman swooped in to tip it in at the buzzer. What was nearly a one-point deficit had Ferrell's shot gone in was suddenly a five-point lead.

Whether you believe or not in what happens to end one half leading into what happens to start the next, Purdue seemed clearly energized.

"We went to the locker room with a lot of momentum," Smotherman said. "Terone and Sterling were just telling us, 'Keep putting it on them in the second half.' We came out and did and we never let up. That kind of sparked us the whole rest of the game."

While Purdue held up on defense to open the half, Carter made a three, then a smooth up-and-under layup. After IU big man Noah Vonleh - rendered a non-factor, along with Purdue center A.J. Hammons, by foul trouble - made one of two free throws, Carter made another three, then a pair of free throws after tagging Vonleh with his fourth foul less than four minutes into the half.

Ronnie Johnson then passed in transition to Scott, who in turn found Peck for an and-one that capped a 13-1 Boilermaker run that for all intents and purposes blew the game open.

When IU got untracked on offense, Purdue clicked on offense, choking off whatever chance the Hoosiers had to climb back into the game.

Carter's fifth and final three came with 4:41 left. It put the Boilermakers up by 25 points.

"It was two halves of basketball we played today," said Terone Johnson, who scored 14 points. "Coming into the locker room at halftime, that was the emphasis we had: 'We have to finish this game off.' We did."

Purdue came off the floor maybe at its highest point emotionally of the season to date.

The feeling will be short-lived.

"It's still one game at a time and we're 0-0 now and we have Michigan State Thursday," Carter said. "That's going to be our mentality the rest of the season."

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