WEST LAFAYETTE – Senior guard Terone Johnson had a game-high 18 points, a pair of freshmen had big first halves and Purdue earned a Big Ten/ACC Challenge-best fifth straight win in the series with an 88-67 victory over Boston College on Wednesday at Mackey Arena.
The one thing we were focused on was just putting two halves together, Johnson said.
The Boilers started hot offensively but let the Eagles get off to a fast start, as well.
Boston College forward Ryan Anderson, who came into Mackey Arena averaging 19 points, got six in the opening 3 1/2 minutes.
After his outburst, the Eagles (3-5) took advantage of offensive rebounds and bad closeouts on weak-side 3-pointers to stay close through the first 10 minutes.
Purdue (7-2) stuck with Boston College thanks to strong performances from freshmen Basil Smotherman and Kendall Stephens, who had seven and 11 points in the first half.
Stephens, despite two fouls early in the first half, came back onto the court and ignited the Boilermakers. He hit three 3-pointers in the half and shot 4 of 5 from the field as Purdue took a seven-point lead with 7:05 left.
I’m glad that we weathered the storm, said Stephens, who saw limited time in the second half. We kept pushing them.
After two more trips, Smotherman found himself open in the corner and buried a 3-pointer to make it a double-digit lead. He followed that up with a highlight-worthy dunk through contact on the next offensive possession.
That’s what they want me to do. We just feed off it, and then we just try to get a stop on the other end, Smotherman said. We’re out there clapping, smiling, just having fun. That’s what a dunk can do, and it was great.
Purdue finished its run on a Jay Simpson offensive rebound and putback off a free throw, and the Boilermakers turned a two-point deficit with 10:23 left in the half into a 41-23 lead with 5:07 remaining.
The defense had a big role in that 21-3 run.
Boston College started 7 of 13 from the field, but the Eagles went 3 for 17 in the final 10 minutes of the half.
We played a great first half, and we came out and played another great second half so we finished the game, Smotherman said. That’s what we have to keep doing.
Anderson, Alex Dragicevich and Olivier Hanlan combined for 44 points for Boston College, but only one other player scored more than five points for the Eagles.
A.J. Hammons and Simpson combined for 15 points, 16 rebounds, four blocks, four assists and were 7 of 13 from the field for Purdue.
Fort Wayne native and Purdue sophomore Rapheal Davis set a career high with five assists and also had six points.
I think we put it all together today, Stephens said.