Purdue centers Isaac Haas and A.J. Hammons, along with forward Caleb Swanigan, dominated inside against Illinois.
They combined for 38 points on 18-of-25 shooting and 23 rebounds in the No. 13 Boilermakers’ 89-58 victory Friday in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal.
“We think Hammons and Haas are the best center combination in the country,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “They both have good post moves, so they don’t have to just have dunks and layups. It’s really hard to go up against that front line. When those guys pass the basketball in quick double teams, that really helps our outside shooting.”
The Boilermakers went 13 of 27 from 3-point range (48.1 percent), missing the Big Ten Tournament record by one.
Haas, Purdue’s reserve center, scored 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting.
Vince Edwards added 14 points, Swanigan had 11 points and 12 rebounds and Dakota Mathias added 11 for Purdue (25-7), which shot 58.3 percent. Hammons finished with 10.
The Boilermakers made 24 of their first 36 shots, including 8 of 14 from 3-point range, taking a 60-27 lead on P.J. Thompson’s 3-pointer with 15:59 left. Consecutive 3-pointers from Edwards pushed the Boilermakers’ lead to 66-30 with 12:13 to play.
“We got good looks at the basket, and that’s because our big men made such good decisions when they were being double-teamed,” Purdue guard Rapheal Davis said. “When two people are guarding one of them, somebody has to be open. Guys were open, and those guys made shots.”
Illinois (15-19) got 17 points from Maverick Morgan, 16 from Malcolm Hill and 13 from Kendrick Nunn.
“Purdue was a buzz saw,” Illinois coach John Groce said. “After watching their last regular-season game against Wisconsin, I knew it was going to be a great challenge for us. With all that size they have, when they are making shots from the outside, they play really, really well.
“We got within 27-21, and then they started making all those 3-pointers, and the game got away from us.”
Purdue is trying to win its first Big Ten Tournament title since 2009, the only time the Boilermakers won the event.
Purdue made 18 of 29 shots (62.1 percent) in the first half and led 45-25 at the break. Hammons and Hass were a combined 10 of 10 from the field.
The Boilermakers outrebounded the Illini 20-11 in the opening 20 minutes and limited Illinois to 1-of-8 shooting from 3-point range.
Painter stressed to his players that Illinois was playing its third game in three days.
“Our guys concentrated on how important it was to defend,” Painter said. “We couldn’t let them get easy baskets.”
Illinois shot 38.5 percent in the first half, getting 12 points from Hill, who scored 30 in January when the Illini hosted the Boilermakers and won 84-70.
Illinois: The Illini advanced to the quarterfinals with victories against Minnesota and Iowa, making a combined 24 3-pointers … Illinois’ 27 victories in Big Ten Tournament competition are second-most in the league … The Illini won this tournament in 2003 and 2005.
Purdue: The Boilermakers, along with Michigan State and Maryland, are the only teams to receive double byes in the new 14-team Big Ten Tournament since Maryland and Rutgers joined in 2015 … Including Friday’s victory, Purdue will take a four-game winning streak into Saturday’s semifinals … Before facing Illinois, Purdue’s reserves had outscored the opponent’s bench in 29 of the first 31 games.
Purdue: Plays Michigan in semifinal on Saturday.