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Purdue cruises in CBI opener

The Purdue men’s basketball season got at least one game longer.

With four players scoring in double figures, the Boilermakers claimed an 81-67 victory over Western Illinois in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational tournament on Wednesday at Mackey Arena.

Purdue (16-17) will be home to Santa Clara (22-11) at 7 p.m. Monday in the second round. The Broncos advanced with a 77-67 win over Vermont on Tuesday.

A.J. Hammons led the balanced attack for the Boilermakers with 15 points. Ronnie Johnson had 14, former South Side standout Rapheal Davis had 12 and Terone Johnson added 10.

Purdue trailed 30-22 with 8:06 remaining in the first half but finished on a 15-4 run to take a 37-34 halftime lead. Terone Johnson hit a three with 7:44 left, then added a layup nearly a minute later to get the Boilermakers to within three at 30-27.

Purdue slowly pulled away and went ahead by 12, 54-42, on a D.J. Byrd three-pointer with 12:33 to play.

Although the Summit League’s Western Illinois (22-9) shot .500 (26 of 52), Purdue hit 31 of 53 shots from the floor for a .585 percentage.

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