MBB: Smotherman Leads Purdue Over Rutgers

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) – Basil Smotherman scored a career-best 17 points and Rapheal Davis had 16 points and 10 rebounds Thursday night, leading Purdue to a 92-85 victory against slumping Rutgers.
Jon Octeus had 14 points, A.J. Hammons scored 13 and Dakota Mathias and Kendall Stephens each added 11 for Purdue. Kadeem Jack led Rutgers with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
It was Boilermaker coach Matt Painter’s 100th Big Ten victory, becoming the 20th man to achieve that milestone in conference history. Painter is in his 10th season at Purdue, his alma mater.
Smotherman, a sophomore forward who was averaging 2.4 points, started in place of freshman Vince Edwards, who is suffering from concussion-like symptoms after a collision in Monday’s practice.
During the first half, Smotherman was 4 of 4 from the field, including a 3-pointer, and was 2 of 2 from the line, helping the Boilermakers build a 46-30 lead through 20 minutes.
Smotherman sank a 3-pointer during a 9-2 first-half run, and Stephens made a 3-pointer and two free throws during an 11-0 burst that extended the Purdue lead to 32-16 with 6:28 left before intermission. Stephens had eight first-half points, as did starting guard Mathias.
With Purdue continuing to feature balanced scoring, the Boilermakers maintained a double-digit lead at 67-55 with 7:21 remaining in the game. An Octeus layup with 4:32 left pushed the Boilermakers’ lead to 76-62.
The Boilermakers (19-9, 11-4) are tied with Maryland for second place in the Big Ten, two games behind league-leading Wisconsin. Purdue shot 60 percent (15 of 25) during the pivotal first half when Rutgers (10-19, 2-14) made only 10 of 30 shots (33.3 percent). The Scarlet Knights (10-19, 2-14) have lost 12 consecutive Big Ten games.
When 7-footer Hammons was called for his second foul with 14:16 left in the first half, Smotherman, Stephens and Mathias picked up the scoring load when the big man went to the bench, making a collective 8 of 12 field goal attempts during the open 20 minutes.
TIP INS:
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights have not won since defeating fourth-ranked Wisconsin 67-62 on Jan. 11 … Rutgers fell to 0-8 in Big Ten road games with a March 7 date at Michigan remaining … The Scarlet Knights entered ranked 14th and last in Big Ten scoring (58.1) and in field goal percentage (38.7).
Purdue: The Boilermakers finished February 5-1, improving to 8-1 since a Jan. 21 loss at Illinois … Purdue completed a two-game season sweep of Rutgers, also winning 61-51 on Feb. 12 in New Jersey … Hammons’ field goal with 13:37 remaining in the second half gave the junior 1,001 career points, becoming the 16th active Big Ten players with at least 1,000.
UP NEXT:
Rutgers plays host to Maryland on Tuesday.
Purdue is at Ohio State on Sunday.

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