FORT WAYNE – D.J. Richardson scored 18 points and Illinois opened up a big first-half lead that buried Purdue 79-59 Wednesday.
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.
BALL STATE 56, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 52: In DeKalb, Ill., Jauwan Scaife scored 23 points, including four free throws in the final 35 seconds, to lead the Cardinals.
Scaife was 6 of 18 from the floor but 9 of 10 from the line for the Cardinals (10-13, 4-7 Mid-American). Ball State has beaten the Huskies (5-18, 3-8) six consecutive games.
CORNERSTONE 80, INDIANA TECH 77: In Grand Rapids, Mich., Indiana Tech fell despite four players scoring in double figures. Jeff Hoskins paced the Warriors (21-8, 14-7 WHAC).
ANDERSON 86, MANCHESTER 81: In Anderson, David House scored 20 points to lead Manchester (4-19, 1-15 HCAC). Phil Hogan had 29 points for Anderson (10-13, 6-10).
CALVIN 61, TRINE 59: In Grand Rapids, Mich., Ian Jackson’s 28 points weren’t enough for Trine (14-10, 7-6 MIAA) against Calvin (21-3, 12-1). The Thunder shot just 26 percent (7 of 27) in the first half.
SAINT FRANCIS 78, MARIAN 57: In Indianapolis, No. 5 Saint Francis (26-3, 15-2 Crossroads League) beat Marian to keep pace with Indiana Wesleyan for first place in the Crossroads League.
The Cougars, led by Kayla Drake’s career-high 34 points and 11 rebounds, go into the last regular-season game Saturday needing a victory over Mount Vernon Nazarene to at least finish in a first-place tie. Should Saint Francis and Indiana Wesleyan finish deadlocked at the top, a coin flip will determine who gets the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage for the league’s tournament, which begins Tuesday. Jenelle Wilson added 12 points.
CORNERSTONE 69, INDIANA TECH 56: In Grand Rapids, Mich., Indiana Tech (13-16, 11-10 WHAC) fell to Cornerstone (18-11, 12-9). Rachael Kruse led the Warriors with 17 points, and Chelsea Carradine had eight points and 10 rebounds.
MICHIGAN STATE 72, INDIANA 42: In East Lansing, Mich., Indiana fell behind 31-17 at the half and never caught up. Linda Rubene came off the bench to lead the Hoosiers (10-15, 1-11 Big Ten) with 14 points.
HUNTINGTON 84, GOSHEN 47: In Huntington, the Foresters (16-12, 8-9) secured sixth place in the Crossroads League standings with their one-sided win over Goshen (3-26, 1-16).
MANCHESTER 47, ANDERSON 33: In North Manchester, the Spartans held Anderson to seven points in the first half. Erynn Meiklejohn scored 18 points to lead Manchester (8-15, 7-9 HCAC).
TRINE 59, ALMA 52: In Alma, Mich., Megan Loveberry scored 22 points and Sydney Spragg had 16 to lead the Thunder (13-11, 7-8 MIAA).
BETHEL 62, GRACE 55: In Winona Lake, Grace shot 31 percent from the floor in its loss to Bethel (23-6, 13-4 Crossroads). Juaneice Jackson led Grace (18-11, 9-8) with 14 points.
LOYOLA-CHICAGO 68, VALPARAISO 58: In Chicago, former Canterbury standout Tabitha Gerardot scored 11 points as Valparaiso (8-14, 3-6 Horizon) fell.