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Purdue 58, Illinois 66: Champaign Tears

Purdue falls on the road again in a defensive battle.

Purdue v Illinois Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Purdue’s season is starting to repeat scripts. The young Boilermakers go on the road in the Big Ten, play tough, give up too many points off turnovers, and can’t capitalize on their runs.

This time the Boilers fall to #15 Illinois, 66-58.

Kofi Cockburn was every bit the paint beast he’s shown himself to be. He led the Fighting Illini with 14 points on just 9 shots, controlled the paint with 2 blocks and 10 rebounds, and made Trevion Williams day difficult from the start.

Trevion Williams continues to be Purdue’s focal point on offense and one of the league’s most skilled big man, but he wasn’t able to bully his opponent like he’s used to and it led to a 14 point performance on 14 attempts.

Brandon Newman continues to show a clinic of moves, dropping 14 points that came in two separate spurts in the game, but the redshirt freshman gave as much as he took. His 5 turnovers were a blueprint for Purdue’s woes on the season. Most of them came on ill-advised swing passes and led to easy transition buckets for Illinois.

The Boilers were outscored in transition once again, this time by a 17-5 margine. In a game where Illinois’ struggles from the free throw line (9-22) should have given Purdue a chance at victory, the consistent turnovers and easy buckets were too much to overcome in a game where Purdue’s defense gave its best effort of the season.

Illinois was just 7-20 from three. Purdue was 7-16, led by junior Sasha Stefanovic’s three made three-pointers - a solid trend of shooting the ball well even away from Mackey. He leads the Big Ten in three-pointers.

Coach Painter’s point guard continues to struggle Eric Hunter Jr. had possibly his worst game of the season, failing for the first time to make a single basket. His 6 misses came with three turnovers and zero points.

Purdue’s stud freshman off the bench also was held scoreless, missing 4 shots, and for the second straight game, Isaiah Thompson took over primary ball handling duties for Coach Painter.

This Purdue team looks like a young team, getting consistently hit in the mouth, that might just see a win to get in a rhythm. Thankfully they will finally get a breather in the Big Ten when they back home to host Nebraska on Tuesday night.