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Illinois' Nnanna Egwu (32) tries to shoot against Purdue's A.J. Hammons (20) during the first half of their NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Darrell Hoemann) (AP)
Illinois’ big first half buries Purdue 79-59

Posted on Feb. 13, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — D.J. Richardson scored 18 points and Illinois opened up a big first-half lead that buried Purdue 79-59 on Wednesday night.

The win was the third straight for Illinois (18-8, 5-7 Big Ten), which is clawing its way back into the postseason picture. The other wins were resume-builders over No. 1 Indiana and then-No. 18 Minnesota.

A dunk by Tyler Griffey with 8:46 remaining put Illinois up 64-46. The margin was too much for a Boilermakers team that had already tried to dig out of a 16-point first-half hole.

Griffey scored 12 points and Joseph Bertrand had a career-high 12 rebounds.

Terone Johnson led Purdue (12-13, 5-7) with 18 points. Boilermakers coach Matt Painter was ejected for arguing with officials with just over eight minutes to play.