Purdue Basketball: Johnson, Moore and Boilermakers Finish Perfect at Home

James EvensCorrespondent IMarch 2, 2011

CHAMPAIGN, IL - FEBRUARY 13: JaJuan Johnson #25 of the Purdue Boilermakers gets free for a dunk against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Assembly Hall on February 13, 2011 in Champaign, Illinois. Purdue defeated Illinois 81-70. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

After a comeback rally for the ages, the Purdue Boilermakers finished perfect at home for the first time since 1969, and for the first time ever in Mackey Arena.

It was bittersweet to send two of the Boilermakers' best players in the history of the program out on such a high note with a win against former Purdue assistant head coach Bruce Weber and the Fighting Illini, 75-67.

The emotions were running high early on senior night and the Boilermakers found themselves down in the first half at the seven-minute timeout, 31-18.

The Boilermakers bounced back however amassing a 12-0 run including a three-pointer from three different Purdue players.

After the score was tied at halftime 37-all, the Illini never took the lead again. 

Purdue was led in this game by its two seniors and sophomore DJ Byrd.

Johnson had 23 points and six rebounds in a performance that was highlighted by a big-time tomahawk dunk down the paint.

Moore finished his last game in Mackey Arena with 18 points and five rebounds.

This year has been a year of the third man stepping up for the Boilermakers and Tuesday night, it was DJ Byrd.  Byrd went for 16 points and seven rebounds for the Boilermakers and really provided a spark behind the arc hitting three huge three-pointers.  Another key component to the Boilermakers victory was defense.

Demitri McCamey showed signs of frustrations after Kelsey Barlow was giving him the business the whole game.  

Barlow, who is one of the best lockdown defenders in the country, was able to shut down McCamey in the final minutes of the game, which proved vital.

Overall, it was one of the most memorable nights in Mackey Arena and very bittersweet for the Boilermakers and fans.

Purdue is to face Iowa on Sunday in which it is possible for the Boilermakers to clinch part of the Big Ten title, with a win and an Ohio State loss.


James Evens serves as a National Featured Columnist for college football and basketball as well as the FC for the Purdue Boilermakers.  Follow him on Twitter or like him on Facebook.