CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- E'Twaun Moore has been a solid contributor for Purdue throughout the Big Ten season, averaging 10.4 points per game.
In the last two weeks, Purdue head coach Matt Painter said Moore has become more comfortable on the court, and the result Saturday was a career-high 24-point performance on 10-of-12 shooting. Moore scored 20 points in the second half to lead Purdue to its seventh-straight win to defeat Illinois 83-75 at Assembly Hall.
Moore's performance even caught the eye of Illinois head coach Bruce Weber.
"I've seen him play well, but not like that; that was special," Weber said of Moore. "For a freshman to come in during the gut-check part of the game and make shots like that, it was impressive."
Illinois (10-13, 2-8) tried to overcome its eight-point halftime deficit with a spirited 10-3 run early in the second half, but Moore was there to answer every time. Moore's 3-pointer with 5:38 remaining capped off a personal streak of seven straight points and put Purdue up 69-59.
Illinois would never get closer than seven points the rest of the way. Brian Randle scored a career-high 21 points for the Illini, who have lost nine of their last 11 games, including a 51-41 loss at No.8 Michigan State on Wednesday.
"It might as well be zero points to be honest; I'm just concerned with wins," Randle said. Shaun Pruitt scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Demetri McCamey had 15 points.
Purdue shot 49.0 percent from the field on 24-of-49 shooting, while Illinois managed 50.0 percent on 21-of-42 shooting. But once again, Illinois' inability to make free throws was a factor, even as they managed a season-high 73.2 percent on 30-of-41 attempts.
"These guys have the pieces, but they have shot themselves in the foot with free throws," Painter said of Illinois. "They have some box scores that are just unbelievable, and if you cover up the free throws, you say, 'Well Illinois won this game."'
Midway through the first half, Purdue used an 8-0 run to take a 20-14 lead. The Boilermakers then used an additional run, an 11-3 spurt, to increase their advantage to 31-21 with 4:11 to play in the first half. Purdue was coming off a 51-50 win over Iowa on Wednesday.
Illinois tried to find its rhythm before halftime, but Weber picked up a technical foul, and Purdue converted on five free throws and a 3-pointer in the final two minutes to take a 39-31 halftime lead. Weber said he was upset with the number of hand-checking violations not being called against Purdue.
"They play very physical," Weber said. "They're aggressive, but as a coach you want to fight for your guys and make sure you have the fairness of the game."
Purdue's bench accounted for 21 of its halftime points, while Illinois could only manage five. Illinois also struggled from the 3-point line in the first half, shooting just 16.7 percent on 1-of-6 shooting. Purdue, meanwhile, sank five of its first 11 attempts and grabbed eight key offensive rebounds.
Illinois' schedule doesn't get any easier with 11th-ranked Indiana coming to town Thursday.
"It's really just kind of frustrating," Randle said. "Guys are playing hard, going out there and working back, clawing and coming up short. We're a resilient team; we're not going to back down regardless of the circumstance."
Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan was in attendance to watch his son Jeff. The freshman walk-on played five minutes and had one rebound. This was the first trip the elder Jordan has made to Assembly Hall this season. Weber said he heard midweek that there was a chance he would be at the game. "It was great for Jeffrey and great to have him in the audience."
PURDUE 83, ILLINOIS 75
Hummel 1-3 2-2 4, Calasan 2-5 0-0 6, Kramer 0-2 2-3 2, Grant 1-9 6-6 8, Moore 10-12 2-2 24, Crump 3-7 5-6 11, Martin 2-4 1-1 6, Green 4-5 5-8 15, Johnson 1-2 5-7 7. Totals 24-49 28-35 83.
Alexander 1-1 0-0 2, Randle 6-12 9-11 21, Pruitt 6-6 6-10 18, Meacham 5-12 2-3 14, Frazier 1-3 2-3 4, Jordan 0-1 0-0 0, Davis 0-1 0-0 0, Brock 0-0 1-2 1, McCamey 2-6 10-12 15, Tisdale 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-42 30-41 75.
Halftime--Purdue 39-31. 3-Point Goals--Purdue 7-19 (Green 2-3, Calasan 2-4, Moore 2-4, Martin 1-3, Crump 0-1, Kramer 0-1, Grant 0-3), Illinois 3-16 (Meacham 2-9, McCamey 1-4, Jordan 0-1, Randle 0-2). Fouled Out--Calasan, Martin, Randle. Rebounds--Purdue 29 (Grant, Green 5), Illinois 25 (Pruitt 9). Assists--Purdue 11 (Kramer 3), Illinois 8 (Frazier, McCamey 2). Total Fouls--Purdue 26, Illinois 22. Technical--Illinois Bench. A--16,618. A--16,618.