Trevion Williams showed his senior leadership down the stretch Friday night.
Not only did Williams motivate his teammates, but he led the way with his effort.
Williams contributed 13 points and 18 rebounds, including two huge ones late, Jaden Ivey scored 19 points and No. 2 Purdue held off a late Iowa rally to win 77-70 on Friday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
“Trevion was great on the glass,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “He could have been aggressive scoring. His ability to rebound was huge.”
Mason Gillis added 12 points off the bench for the Boilermakers (8-0).
Williams said Purdue needs to find ways to win when it isn’t shooting well.
“One thing you can control is your effort,” Williams said. “I think we put in enough effort to get the job done.”
The Hawkeyes (7-1) were without leading scorer and rebounder Keegan Murray, who injured his ankle in Monday’s victory at Virginia. Murray is averaging 24.6 points and 8.9 rebounds. His twin brother, Kris Murray, started in his place.
Patrick McCaffery led Iowa with 15 points. Tony Perkins scored 14 and Murray 12 for Iowa.
The Boilermakers had a 63-44 lead dwindle to 70-68 with 3:08 left after Iowa went on an 11-0 run, capped by Murray’s 3-pointer. Purdue held a 7-2 edge the rest of the way.
“We kept believing in each other,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “We kept executing.”
Iowa’s comeback was helped by forcing 17 turnovers.
“They put pressure us,” Ivey said. “They were really physical the whole game. We had some turnovers, but we can clean that up.”
Painter said there were defensive lapses, too
“You can’t allow great players to have open shots,” Painter said. “We were careless with the balls. We were too cute with our passes. We had too many turnovers. But give Iowa credit, they played hard.
“You want to get in close games and win them. It really helps you through the season. It was the most physical game we played so far. I thought Iowa was tougher than us..”
Iowa had 29 fouls, 11 more than Purdue. The Boilermakers made 18 of 29 free throws while the Hawkeyes were 15 of 22.
Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon was held to four points, seven below his average. He was limited by four fouls
Purdue led by as many as 17 before settling for a 39-26 halftime lead.
The Boilermakers shot 42% in the opening half while holding Iowa to 27%, For the game, Purdue shot 42% and Iowa 40%
“They deserved to be No. 1.,” coach McCaffery said. “They can hurt in so many ways. They have depth, experience and size. It’s going to be a hard team to beat.”
Iowa: The Hawkeyes, who were averaging 94 points in the first seven games, struggled to score early without Keegan Murray. Their previous low scoring was in Monday’s 75-74 victory at Virginia. Iowa did shoot better in the second half at 53%,
Purdue: The Boilermakers didn’t have their best shooting performance and committed 17 turnovers, but the rebounding edge (42-30) and 3-point advantage proved to be the difference. Purdue made 8 of 19 3s while Iowa was 5 of 21.
For the first time in its program’s history, Purdue could move into the No. 1 spot in AP Top 25. No. 1 Duke lost to Ohio State on Tuesday night. The last time Purdue was ranked No. 2 was in 1988.
“It definitely an accomplishment for us,” Trevion Williams said. “We don’t want to settle for that. We want to stay No. 1.”
Iowa: Hosts Illinois on Monday night.
Purdue: At Rutgers on Thursday night.