Illinois once trailed Purdue by 24 points and had every chance to win the game down the stretch, tying the game late in Mackey Arena, almost putting a damper in Senior Day.
Mackey is almost impossible to come into and win as a visiting team, let alone do it coming from behind but the Fighting Illini almost pulled that off Sunday.
In the first half, the no. 5-ranked Boilermakers held the Illini scoreless until almost four minutes into the first half and had all of the momentum for the remainder of the first half.
It was a tale of two halves, though, and the Illini came out swinging after halftime and put the pressure on Purdue, just like they did the week before in Columbus against Ohio State.
Late in the game, the Boilermakers saw their massive lead disappear and the game was tied. Some big calls down the stretch worked to Purdue’s favor- including multiple foul calls on Illinois and a major foul on Purdue Center Zach Edey- that could have easily been a flagrant but was held up as a personal foul.
Even with all the luck working against them, Illinois was still in it but missed free throws and missed shots combined with the Paint Crew student section and Boiler defense cranking things up to the extreme thwarted every ounce of Illini momentum, sealing the 76-71 Purdue win.