The last time the Purdue men's basketball team met the Virginia Cavaliers is a sore subject for the Boilermaker faithful. It was March in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in Louisville, with Virginia winning in overtime, following a last-second basket to tie the game and send it into the extra frame.
Virginia would eventually capture its first national championship and the Boilermakers would go home thinking about what could have been.
So Wednesday's game against fifth-ranked UVA has been circled on the calender of many fans ever since. And when it finally arrived, the Boilermakers rose to the occasion, soundly defeating the defending champs 69-40 in a deafening Mackey Arena. It was the team's first win versus a non-conference opponent ranked in the nation's top five.
Purdue went with a new starting lineup, with Sasha Stefanovic and Trevion Williams getting the nod. Stefonovic took full advantage, hitting his first three three-point tries, which opened up a Purdue lead they never relinquished.
Stefanovic led all scorers with 20 points, netting six threes in all. Jahaad Proctor chipped in 16 and Eric Hunter Jr. added ten points, five rebounds and four assists. As a team Purdue converted more than 50% of its three point tries, cashing in 13 total on the night.
But it was Purdue's defense that won the day, suffocating the Virginia offense in the first half. The Cavaliers shot just 32% from the field and 13% from beyond the arc, scoring just 17 points in the first 20 minutes. Virginia turned the ball over 16 times, resulting in 15 points for the Boilers on the other end. The home crowd was also treated to 12 steals on the night.
Purdue moves to 5-3, handing Virginia (7-1) its first loss of the season.
Purdue returns to Mackey Arena Sunday against Northwestern to begin Big Ten play.