WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Ronnie Johnson scored 16 points to help Purdue defeat Rider 81-77 on Sunday night.
Terone Johnson scored 14 points, Sterling Carter had 13 points and four steals and Bryson Scott added 11 points for the Boilermakers (3-0). Center A.J. Hammons scored just one point in 12 minutes and was plagued by foul trouble.
Anthony Myles scored 19 points, Daniel Stewart scored 16, Jimmie Taylor had 13 and Zedric Sadler added 11 for the Broncs (0-2).
Purdue shot 51 percent from the field but made just 16 of 31 free throws. Rider made 24 of 31 free throws to stay in the game.
Myles hit a 3-pointer with 38.8 seconds left to cut what had been a seven-point Purdue lead a minute earlier to 77-75.
Carter made two free throws, then Ronnie Johnson had a steal and layup to push Purdue's lead to 81-75 with 20.3 seconds to play.
Kahlil Thomas scored early in the second half to give Rider a 42-40 lead after the Broncs trailed for most of the first half. A 3-pointer by Tommy Pereira bumped the lead to three, and Sadler's 3-pointer gave Rider a 55-46 lead five minutes into the second half.
Purdue slowly rallied, then got a jolt when Basil Smotherman went baseline for a thunderous left-handed jam that energized the crowd. He was fouled, made the free throw and cut Rider's lead to 59-57. A putback by Jay Simpson tied it at 61 with 9:21 to play, and the game was tight the rest of the way.
Hammons, a 7-footer who blocked seven shots in his first game, committed two quick fouls to negate his team's size advantage.
Rider led 13-8 early, but the Boilermakers rallied. Scott made a tough basket in traffic, then Rapheal Davis scored on a putback to give the Purdue a 15-13 lead. Purdue extended the lead to 19-13 while holding the Broncs scoreless for nearly four minutes.
Sterling Carter's 3-pointer pushed Purdue's lead to 32-21.
Rider rallied and cut its deficit to 38-33 with about three minutes left in the first half. Khalil Alford's 3-pointer cut it to two, and he followed it with a layup that tied the score at 40. The Broncs missed a chance to take the lead going into halftime.