Brad Miller (52) shoots in front of Illinois'
Kevin Turner, left, and Victor Chukwudebe
during the first half of their semifinal
game in the Big Ten Conference Tournament.

 

Men's Basketball Advances to Big Ten Championship Game

Boilermakers Defeat No. 18 Illinois, 68-47.

By MIKE NADEL
AP Sports Writer

CHICAGO (AP) - Brad Miller scored 19 points and led a defense that held Illinois to 36 percent shooting as No. 9 Purdue advanced to the Big Ten title game by winning 68-47 Saturday, its third victory this season over the 18th-ranked Illini.

Chad Austin scored 22 points for Purdue (26-6), which will go for its 22nd conference title Sunday against No. 17 Michigan. The Wolverines defeated Minnesota 85-69 in Saturday's other semifinal.

Kevin Turner scored 12 points, six below his average, for Illinois (22-9), the regular-season Big Ten co-champion. Turner and Jerry Hester, the Illini's No. 2 scorer, combined to shoot 8-for-24 from the floor as the team had its lowest-scoring game and most lopsided loss this season.

The Illini, 14-1 against the rest of the conference, have lost only two of their last 13 games - both to Purdue. Their only defeat in 15 home games also was to Purdue.

The Boilermakers, who had never beaten the same team three times in a season, have won six straight against Illinois. Austin scored 63 points on 21-for-39 shooting in this season's three victories.

Miller was 8-for-10 from the floor, helping the Boilermakers shoot 57 percent. The 6-foot-11 center rebounded nicely after getting called for two fouls in the first 63 seconds and having to spend 9 minutes on the bench.

Illinois took advantage of his absence early, going ahead 18-10. The Illini were still up 22-15 after Brian Johnson scored with 7:18 left.

But Miller returned and Purdue dominated the rest of the way.

The Boilermakers finished the half with a 16-3 run, with Austin scoring six points and Miller four, and they outscored Illinois 29-10 in the first 14 minutes of the second half to make it a rout. One of the highlights: Miller blocked a shot by Sergio McClain and then hustled to score a layup in transition on a nice pass from Tony Mayfield.