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Purdue 97, Central Michigan 62 : Merry Christmas

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Purdue handles the last of their non-con schedule.

NCAA Basketball: Central Michigan at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Sasha Stefanovic knocked down 6 threes in the first half, and the Boilers got out of a season long shooting slump on their way to routing Central Michigan 97-62.

With students away and a MAC opponent coming to town, Purdue fans still filled Mackey Arena for the school’s seventh straight sell-out crowd to start the season.

Purdue had their best three-point shooting performance of the year, knocking down 14 of 32 attempts. Five Boilers scored in double figures and Purdue had their highest scoring output of the season.

Stefanovic led the way for the Boilers, scoring 23 points, and shooting 7 of 10 from three on the game.

Trevion Williams collected another double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, bullying Central Michigan inside, and adding his usual passing brilliance from the post.

Good news for the Boilers, Matt Haarms made his return from his second concussion of the season. He was effective in limited minutes, scoring 11 points in 11 minutes of action, swatting a shott, and grabbing 2 offensive rebounds.

It was a balanced scoring effort for the Boilers Eric Hunter Jr. adding 16 points.

But all of those baskets and lopsided scoring was important for one reason: Tommy Luce.

The senior former walk-on is something of a legend in West Lafayette, and there’s not much that gets the Mackey crowd into the game as when Luce walks up to the score keeper’s table. It was something of a late Christmas gift then when Luce went into the game with 8 minutes still on the clock.

It was an 8 minute run for Luce that kept Mackey’s fans engaged in a one-sided blow-out, and the pay of was the diminutive guard making an acrobatic lay up for his first basket of the game. A perfect sweetener to a big win ahead of Purdue’s Big Ten slate kicking off on Thursday when Minnesota comes to town to play Purdue.

Matt Frost, a fellow walk-on, scored his first basket of his Purdue career off a Tommy Luce assist.