No. 3 Indiana rolls past rival Purdue 97-60

MICHAEL MAROT AP Sports Writer Published:

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Cody Zeller is back in his shooting groove, and No. 3 Indiana looks better than ever.

The 7-foot sophomore center broke out of his two-game funk Wednesday night, scoring 19 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and opening things up for his teammates as they routed rival Purdue 97-60 with one of the most resounding victories in this 199-game series.

"It is kind of neat because IU has had so many great teams over the years and to be the biggest win, it's always nice to be part of history," Zeller said. "And there's always a little extra here at Purdue."

It wasn't Indiana's most lopsided win in the series, just the biggest rout for the Hoosiers in West Lafayette. But it was the worst home loss for Purdue in school history.

And it was no secret why the Hoosiers (19-2, 7-1 Big Ten) were able to play so well: They did virtually everything right.

Zeller was 6 of 14 from the field and made all seven free throws. He had seven offensive rebounds, two assists and two steals.

His teammates made a season-high 12 3-pointers, seized control in the first half and never let the Boilermakers get closer than 18 in the second half. Indiana outrebounded Purdue 39-29, forced 18 turnovers compared with only eight, went 19 of 20 from the free throw line and wound up with the most points ever against one of coach Matt Painter's teams at Purdue.

The reward: Indiana played its most impressive game of the season and produced its highest point total against Purdue since Jan. 28, 1992, when it won 106-65.

"To win here, you've really got to be on top of your game and I don't just mean offensive and defensive execution," Hoosiers coach Tom Crean said. "It's attitude, it's energy, it's toughness and our guys did all of those things tonight."

Indiana has won four straight overall, five straight Big Ten road games dating to last season and three straight over the dreaded Boilermakers.

And Zeller's resurgence, following two games in which he had a combined two baskets and 11 points, couldn't have come at a better time.

Next up for the Hoosiers is a Saturday night showdown with No. 1 Michigan, a game that will break up the tie for the Big Ten lead and could dictate which team holds the top spot in next week's poll. The Wolverines defeated Northwestern 68-46 on Wednesday.

But that was the furthest thing from the Hoosiers' minds.

"I thought we played pretty well. It was good to see everyone working together," Zeller said. "When the ball is moving from side to side and up and down the court like that, we're a tough team."

Purdue (11-10, 4-4) found out the hard way.

While freshman center A.J. Hammons scored a career-high 30 points and freshman point guard Ronnie Johnson added 13, just about everything else went wrong for the Boilermakers.

No other player scored more than four points. Only Hammons (10), Ronnie Johnson (five), Terone Johnson (two) and Travis Carroll (two) made more than one basket. The Boilermakers shot just 40 percent from the field (22 of 55) and without Hammons' 10-of-14 night, that dismal shooting percentage would have dropped to an even more mind-boggling 29.3 percent.

While the Boilermakers barely avoided their worst loss in the series, a mark set in that 41-point rout in '92, they still wound up with their worst home loss ever.

Even more troubling was that Purdue didn't look anything like the team that had won four of its last five or its last three at home.

"Facts are facts," Painter said. "They played harder than us and they played better than us. At the end those guys were out there celebrating and that's what it's all about. ... They're a good team and we're not. We play like individuals."

How bad was it?

After falling behind 27-17 with 9:15 left in the first half, the Boilermakers only cut the deficit to single digits three times.

"We knew how they were going to be, we saw them on TV, we expected it," Carroll said. "We just didn't play up to it."

The Hoosiers didn't waste much time seizing control.

Indiana took advantage when Hammons and swingman D.J. Byrd went to the bench with two fouls, going on a 9-0 run to take a 10-point lead.

Painter gambled by putting both back in. With Byrd, it worked. With Hammons, it did not.

The Boilermakers' 7-foot freshman center picked up his third foul with 4:17 to go in the half, and with Hammons out, Zeller scored six points in a 13-0 run that turned the game.

Indiana put it away with a 14-1 spurt midway through the second half and Purdue couldn't get closer than 26 after that.

"I think we played with resolve, we were very authoritative on drives and our pressure defense was up and active," Crean said. "We're getting more active defensively in the Big Ten and we just keep moving the ball. I know it sounds easy, but it's not."