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Purdue Avoids Upset Against Penn State

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Casey Abbett
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Trevion Williams led the Boilers in points while coming off the bench.

The No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers avoided the possibility of back-to-back losses for the first time this season with a 74-67 win over Penn State, which also marks their first true road-game victory on Saturday.

While a 2-2 start in the Big Ten is not ideal for Purdue, in the three years that the Boilers have won the Big Ten regular season title under Matt Painter, they started 3-2 twice and 2-3. Purdue’s first road-game was a loss at Rutgers when the Boilers were beaten on a basket before the final buzzer.

After Penn State (7-6, 2-3) clawed back from a 13-point deficit in the second half to go ahead, Purdue (12-2) took the lead for good when Trevion Williams tipped in a missed layup with 3:15 left in the game and gave the Boilers a 65-64 advantage.

Williams, a senior from Chicago, finished with a team-high 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting and nine rebounds, six of which were offensive, off the bench. Before Saturday, he started the four previous games for Purdue.

Sophomore Jaden Ivey took more responsibilities bringing the ball up the court as the point guard and sparking the offense. Ivey finished with 12 points. Isaiah Thompson, a junior, and senior Eric Hunter Jr. previously shared the point guard duties and combined for only two points in the home loss against No. 23 Wisconsin on Monday.

Penn State junior Seth Lundy, who averaged 14.8 points per game before Saturday, and scored 23 in the Nittany Lions’ win at Northwestern on Wednesday, was held to ten points. He didn’t score any points until the second half.

“(Lundy) is a tough cover for us,” Said coach Matt Painter, who has won 26 of Purdue’s last 30 games against Penn State. “I thought we did great in the first half contesting and just not letting (Lundy) get to his spots.”

Purdue forced 11 Penn State turnovers and cashed in for 16 points on those miscues. The Boilers also had six steals.

Sophomore Mason Gillis, in addition to Ivey, gave the Boilers some unexpected production with a career-high 14 points and shot 3-of-4 from three-point range. Gillis is also a perfect 19-for-19 from the free-throw line on the season.

The Boilers have had the Nittany Lions number in the Painter era, having won 26 of the last 30 contests and five straight in the Bryce Jordan Center. End of quote.

Purdue’s next game is scheduled to be in Ann Arbor against Michigan. The Wolverines game against Michigan State on Saturday was canceled due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Casey Abbett is a senior at Purdue from LaCrosse, Indiana, and has been been interning as a sports reporter for WBAA since his freshman year.