WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP)—Purdue’s chance to showcase its return to national prominence quickly turned into a lesson on how far the Boilermakers have to go.
Kyle Singler had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and No. 4 Duke beat No. 9 Purdue 76-60 on Tuesday night to remain unbeaten in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Jon Scheyer scored 20 points and Nolan Smith added 12 for the Blue Devils (8-0).
Purdue fell behind 7-0 in the opening minutes, and much of the capacity crowd of 14,123 that was hoping for the Boilermakers’ first home win over a top five team since 1992 instead was immediately deflated and remained quiet for much of the night.
“For us, we knew coming on the road, it’s huge to get off to huge starts, and that’s something we were really focused on,” Scheyer said.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Purdue provided the kind of early season test his team needed.
“I’m proud of our guys,” he said. “We beat a really good basketball team tonight. It was a great environment.”
That great environment lasted until shortly after tipoff, when Duke exposed Purdue for being a talented team that’s not quite ready for prime time. Duke outrebounded Purdue 49-29 and held the Boilermakers to 37 percent shooting.
Robbie Hummel had 15 points and eight rebounds and JaJuan Johnson added 12 points for the Boilermakers (5-2).
E’Twaun Moore, Purdue’s leading scorer, went scoreless in the first half and finished with 10 points.
“It was a lot tougher than we thought it was going to be,” Moore said.
Duke improved to 10-0 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It was the Blue Devils’ first test against a ranked team this season, and Krzyzewski said Singler and Scheyer controlled the game.
“Jon and Kyle played at a really high level,” he said. “Jon’s a veteran. Jon’s accustomed to being in big games. In a physical game like that, you want the ball in his hands because it’s almost automatic at the free throw line, same thing with Kyle.”
Purdue lost to No. 6 Oklahoma in overtime last Friday in the NIT Season Tip-Off final. Duke expected Purdue to use that as motivation.
“Purdue’s a very good team,” Singler said. “We knew they were going to have an edge, and have another edge playing at home. It was a man’s game. We knew we had to play confident, we knew we had to play team defense and come in with the mind-set that we were going to win.”
Duke led 36-28 at halftime and opened the second half with a putback by Brian Zoubek and a 3-pointer by Scheyer to push its lead to 41-28.
Johnson converted a three-point play, then made another basket to trim Duke’s lead to 47-36, but the Blue Devils responded with an 8-0 run.
Moore finally scored on a fadeaway jumper with 10:46 to play, but Duke still led 55-38. Singler hit a deep 3-pointer at the other end and ran back downcourt shaking his head and exuding confidence.
Purdue started to chip away at Duke’s lead in the closing minutes. Moore scored two more baskets, and Hummel scored on a three-point play and a bank shot to cut Duke’s lead to 62-49. A steal and layup by Moore made it 64-53 with just over three minutes left.
Purdue had a chance to cut Duke’s lead to single digits, but Chris Kramer missed a 3-pointer with just over two minutes to play, and Singler dunked on Duke’s next possession to end Purdue’s threat.
Purdue looked unusually sloppy in the opening minutes. The Boilermakers had several turnovers and missed their first six shots before Kramer made a fadeaway with 15:49 left in the first half that cut Duke’s lead to 7-2.
In addition to shutting out Moore in the first half, Duke held Hummel to five points.
“I think it was good solid defense,” Singler said. “If you let Moore and Hummel catch a lot, that’s more opportunities they have, so we just tried to keep it out of their hands as much as possible. You’re not going to take it completely away from them, but I thought we did a pretty good job denying them.”
Krzyzewski was pleased with his team’s performance, but also feels Purdue could contend for the national title.
“We think at the end of the season, Purdue will be one of those teams that has a chance,” he said.