WEST LAFAYETTE – D.J. Byrd hit some big three-pointers on the way to scoring 15 points. But Purdue coach Matt Painter thought Byrd's hustle plays down the stretch played a bigger role in the Boilermakers' 68-61 upset victory against No. 11 Illinois.
Byrd went to the floor, grabbed the basketball before it went out of bounds and called a timeout after teammate Jacob Lawson missed a free throw with 21.5 seconds remaining.
It was Byrd's only rebound of the game.
Purdue maintained possession and then Byrd scored while getting fouled with 20.1 seconds to go to extend the Boilermakers' lead to 65-61. He made the free throw to essentially wrap up the victory.
"The hustle play in the free throw to get the rebound and to call the timeout. … And taking a charge late. Those are the types of plays we need from him," Painter said. "I know he knocked down some shots there in the second half to get on a roll, but those are more important in my opinion."
Terone Johnson scored a career-high 25 points. He also had the important task of guarding Brandon Paul, Illinois' top scorer.
Paul scored 15 points, but six of those came late on consecutive three-pointers. Paul came into the game averaging 18.7 points per game.
"I thought Terone did a good job of taking the challenge of guarding Brandon Paul," Painter said. "We have a lot of respect for (Paul) and his ability to put points on the board.
"(Johnson) took that challenge and did a good job of staying with him really to the end."
The Illini shot 35.6 percent from the floor.
Lawson was the third Boilermaker to finish in double figures in scoring with 10 points. He also had seven rebounds.
The opponent's view
Illinois coach John Groce praised Purdue's effort in the win.
"We got outplayed," Groce said. "They executed better, particularly in the second half."
Purdue shot 46.2 percent from the floor in the second half. The Boilermakers shot 37.1 percent in the first half.
"We had Byrd under control in the first half, he got loose in the second," Groce said. "… We had no answer for Terone Johnson."