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Purdue beats IU 69-64 at Assembly Hall

BLOOMINGTON, IN - FEBRUARY 09: Caleb Swanigan #50 of the Purdue Boilermakers looks to pass while defended by Thomas Bryant #31 and James Blackmon Jr #1 of the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall on February 9, 2017 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.– Streaking Purdue dealt the struggling Indiana Hoosiers a tough blow Thursday night, with a final score of 69-64 at Assembly Hall.

This was a game IU badly needed for an NCAA tournament bid.

Both teams struggled from the field shooting, but the Boilers made the critical plays down the stretch to win. Hoosier star James Blackmon Jr. returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with a leg injury, yet couldn’t find his shooting touch, going 3-14 from the field.

Indiana led 36-32 at the half, thanks to some tough interior defense that closed in on both Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas. That quickly changed, as Swanigan scored the first six points of the second half. Vince Edwards tallied a season-high 26 points to go with 8 rebounds, while Swanigan added 16 and 14 for yet another double-double before fouling out with Hoosier big man Thomas Bryant in an unusual double foul late in the game.

Bryant led Indiana with 23 points, while Blackmon scored just 11.

The victory is the 20th this season against five losses for Purdue, pushing their big Ten mark to 9-3, still trailing Wisconsin by a few games for the league title. Indiana is now 15-10, 5-7 in conference play.

The Hoosiers will host Michigan Sunday, while Purdue is off until hosting Rutgers on Valentine’s Day.