YPSILANTI, Mich. – Eastern Michigan had the prettiest number in an ugly game.
Derek Thompson scored eight points, and the Eagles turned the ball over just five times and held off Purdue 47-44 Saturday. The victory was the school’s first against a Big Ten team since 1997 at Michigan, and just the 10th in school history.
It feels really good, said guard J.R. Sims, the Snider graduate who finished with seven points. We haven’t beaten a major program in a long time.
The Boilermakers (4-5) rebounded a missed free throw and had a chance for a tying basket with 8.7 seconds to play, but Dru Anthrop threw the ball away near midcourt. Purdue had 18 turnovers and lost despite outrebounding its hosts 51-33.
We’re frustrated, coach Matt Painter said. We feel like we continue to beat ourselves.
The Eagles (6-2) missed all eight of their three-point tries in the first half but made three in the first 5 minutes of the second, including Glenn Bryant’s three-pointer that broke a 26-all tie and gave Eastern Michigan the lead for good. The hosts were 5 of 10 from beyond the arc in the second half.
We came off screens better in the second half and made some room for guys, Eagles coach Rob Murphy said. After that, our defense did the rest.
Eastern Michigan’s Daylen Harrison had 11 rebounds on an afternoon that saw both teams struggle from the floor. Purdue made just under 30 percent of its field-goal tries, and the Eagles were barely over that number.
Murphy was pleased with the way his team took care of the ball, especially after watching it commit 24 turnovers in its last game, an 84-48 loss at Syracuse on Monday.
Half of those errors were just us being careless against Syracuse’s pressure, he said. I thought we did a much better job today.
Eastern Michigan scored 12 points off Purdue turnovers.
Terone Johnson had 12 points and A.J. Hammons and Ronnie Johnson added 11 each for the Boilermakers, who fell to Eastern Michigan for the first time in four meetings.
In 20 years I don’t think I’ve ever had a game when we didn’t allow a double-figure scorer but lost the game, Painter said.