WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue's first Big Ten win of the season – a 70-64 victory over Nebraska on Sunday at Mackey Arena – wasn't always pretty.
The Boilermakers could never create the separation they felt like they were on the verge of doing in the first half, and turnovers in the second half nearly cost them the win.
But Purdue was able to lock down in the final 6:43, holding Nebraska scoreless for 5 ½ minutes as the Boilermakers turned a 58-55 deficit into a 64-58 lead with 1:04 to play.
"I feel like we just stayed poised," Purdue guard Sterling Carter said of being able to overcome the ups and downs against the Cornhuskers. "We had faith in each other. Being down three with six minutes to go didn't rattle us or anything like that, we just kept going and we got the victory."
A.J. Hammons finished with 18 points for Purdue, and Johnson added 14. The Boilermakers also got 28 points from their bench, with Carter and Kendall Stephens each scoring eight.
Purdue went 24 for 52 from the floor and survived making 17 of 28 free throws, because nine of the free throws the Boilermakers connected on where in the final six minutes.
Terran Petteway finished with 19 points for Nebraska, and Ray Gallegos and Deverell Biggs each scored 10.
Nebraska shot 24 of 58, and the Cornhuskers were able to turn the nine second-half turnovers into only nine points. They also couldn't take advantage of having an 11-4 edge in second-chance points.
"I thought in the first half, even though we had some shots not go our way, I thought we did a good job of taking care of the basketball," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "Up until (less than 7 minutes remained) in the second half, we really struggled taking care of the basketball. We really threw it too them three times (in the second half). We had a lot of breakdowns defensively.
"As the game ended right there on that run, I thought we did a better job of getting long rebounds and getting stops on the defensive end."
Purdue got a contribution against Nebraska from a player who hasn't been focused on much this season.
Carter, a graduate transfer from Seattle University, scored eight points in 18 minutes after coming into the game averaging 4.5 points in 13.7 minutes.
"I thought Sterling Carter was huge," Painter said. "I thought, once again, he was really good defensively. He got some long rebounds for us. He got seven defensive rebounds, which were probably the difference in the game."
While Hammons led Purdue in scoring, he also got in foul trouble against Nebraska.
But when Hammons needed to sit, the Boilermakers didn't lose much with Jay Simpson coming in.
Simpson finished with seven points and two rebounds, and most of his offensive production came on the first offensive possession after he stepped in for Hammons.
"He went to the basket with his post move," Painter said. "The last couple of times when he got opportunities to score against Ohio State and Minnesota, he shoots a fadeaway. It sours everybody, especially myself, because he has the ability to go right at people.
"We want him to play smashmouth basketball and go right at people. I thought tonight he did that a couple of times. It is important for him to give us an inside presence when A.J.'s not in there."