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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WDRB) — For 23 games nobody had knifed through the Purdue defense. Nobody made the Boilermakers flinch.

Not Gonzaga. Not Duke. Not Marquette.

Not anybody in the Big Ten. Purdue’s only one loss was a one-possession, one-point slip against Rutgers. The Boilermakers had only trailed at halftime four times, only once by as many as 10 points.

Not only was Matt Painter’s team cruising to the Big Ten title, they were the unanimous choice as the No. 1 men’s college basketball team in the country.

Double check the ballots Monday morning. Credit Indiana, which handled Purdue, 79-74, Saturday afternoon at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

“I thought tonight we answered the ball,” IU coach Mike Woodson said. “We delivered what we needed to deliver — a win … We’ve just got to keep hammering and scraping and see where it takes us.”

Credit 25 points from IU’s Trayce Jackson-Davis and 16 from Jalen Hood-Schifino, including the game-closing final two as the Hoosiers improved to 16-7 and 7-5 in the Big Ten.

Jackson-Davis is on the fast-track toward first-team all-American status. He scored 18 points in the first half, pivoting around and away from the Purdue defense with his first-step quickness.

But get this: Indiana won on a day when its best player did not score any of the Hoosiers’ final 16 points in the final 10:55. Usually Jackson-Davis is more likely to score every point at winning time, not get shutout.

At winning time, it was Hood-Schifino, a freshman, who got the Hoosiers to the finish line, scoring 8 of IU’s final 16 points, including four of the Hoosiers’ final five baskets.

“That was huge,” Jackson-Davis said. “He lives for those big moments … in the first half I was carrying the load a little bit and in the second half he kind of did it ... he's a great player and when he gets to the rim, he's kind of unguardable."

Four days after Hood-Schifino missed 13 of 14 shots as Indiana lost at Maryland, he was the guy who hit a driving layup with 25 seconds to play and then another in the final 2 seconds.

“He asked for the ball coming down the stretch so I drew up two plays that got it to him and he delivered,” Woodson said.

“I just told coach that I was going to get that last bucket,” Hood-Schifino said.

Before the game there was considerable chatter about how the Hoosiers would defend Zach Edey, Purdue’s mammoth center who is listed as the 1-to-15 frontrunner for national player of the year.

Woodson kept it simple. He put his best player, Jackson-Davis, on Edey. The Hoosiers surrounded Edey with double teams any time he dribbled the ball on the low block.

Did it work?

Does anything work against Edey, who has used his towering 7-foot, 4-inch body to score with either hand over shorter defenders all season? Not for 40 minutes it doesn't.

Although Edey made 6 of 8 shots in the first half, you could say Indiana’s defense was effective as the Hoosiers shot to a 50-35 lead.

But Purdue never stopped feeding their stud. He scored four baskets in the first four minutes of the second half as the Boilermakers cut the Indiana lead to 54-45.

In fact, the Boilermakers came nearly all the way back, cutting Indiana’s lead to 71-70 with 2:02 to play.

“You’re not the No. 1 team in the country if you’re not able to make runs,” Woodson said.

And you’re not going to beat the No. 1 team in the country unless you’re able to respond to those runs.

Indiana responded in a game that Purdue only led for 35 seconds. The 15-point halftime deficit was the largest of the year for the Boilermakers.

Edey finished with a dazzling 33 points and 18 rebounds. He checked every box you want a national player of the year to check. Right hand. Left hand. Drop step. Spin move. Rebound slams. Edey can do all that stuff with the best of college basketball. 

“We didn’t have a lot of answers for Edey in the second half,” Woodson said. “He kind of had his way.”

But Indiana had enough answers to deliver its second win against the Boilermakers of the Woodson era. Until Woodson's arrival before last season, Indiana had lost 9 straight to Purdue. It was high on the list of why athletic director Scott Dolson made a coaching change in 2021.

Now Indiana has won two of the last three games in this series. It was the Hoosiers' third Quad 1 victory, the kind of game IU would have lost in the first two seasons of Jackson-Davis' career.

"It's just the toughness factor," he said. "The teams in the past that I have been on weren't that tough, honestly. We've kind of played with a chip on our shoulder since the beginning of the year when we got punked by Rutgers."

Ahhh, Rutgers.

The fun continues for Woodson’s team. On Tuesday night, the Hoosiers host Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights dominated Indiana, 63-48, in New Jersey on Dec. 3 for IU’s first loss.

Rutgers has beaten Indiana six straight times with the Hoosiers’ last victory in the series on March 10, 2019, when Romeo Langford scored 20 points in an 89-73 IU victory.

Rutgers, not Indiana, sits in second place in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers are tied for third with Iowa and Illinois.

“It means a lot (to beat Purdue),” Woodson said. “But it doesnt mean anything unless you can validate it.

“I told our guys they can start celebrating for about an hour and then they’ve got to get ready.”

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