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updated: 2/2/2013 3:35 PM

Northwestern tops Purdue in strong performance

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  • Northwestern's Reggie Hearn celebrates a basket against Purdue Saturday during the second half.

    Northwestern's Reggie Hearn celebrates a basket against Purdue Saturday during the second half.
    Associated Press

Associated Press

EVANSTON -- eggie Hearn struggled in his last two games, shooting poorly against Michigan and Nebraska.

Hearn got into a rhythm early Saturday and gained confidence in his shot. He erupted for a career-high 26 points to lead Northwestern to a 75-60 victory over Purdue.

Jared Swopshire and Dave Sobolewski each added 13 points for the Wildcats (13-10, 4-6 Big Ten), who scored the game's first 12 points and snapped a four-game losing streak to the Boilermakers.

Purdue freshman center A.J. Hammons didn't start because he was late for the team bus from West Lafayette, Ind., according to a team spokesman. Hammons did lead the Boilermakers (11-11, 4-5) with 19 points and 13 rebounds.

On Wednesday, Hammons had 30 points, his highest total of the season, in a loss to No. 3 Indiana.

Travis Carroll started in Hammons' place, and Hammons entered with 16:44 to play in the first half. The Boilermakers scored their first points with 15:59 left on a Hammons tip-in to cut the lead to 12-2.

"He didn't have anything to do with being down 12-0 because he wasn't in the game," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "It sure doesn't help.

"You'd like to have that, but putting it on him, we have to get better guard play."

The Wildcats shot 11 of 26 from 3-point range and 53 percent from the field.

"Someone just mentioned that we had 26 field goals and 24 assists. It makes you feel good as a staff that guys are sharing the ball and doing the right things," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said.

"Everybody seemed to be on the same page on both offense and defense."

Tre Demps added 12 points for Northwestern. D.J. Byrd had 12 points and Anthony Johnson had 11 for Purdue, which shot 33 percent from the field.

Northwestern reached its biggest lead, 21 points, with 12:45 remaining on Demps' 3-pointer. Purdue answered with a 9-0 run before Swopshire made a 3-pointer to put Northwestern ahead 59-44 with 10:32 left.

Purdue was unable to cut the lead to single digits in the second half.

The Wildcats snapped a two-game losing streak. Purdue has dropped three of its last four.

Both teams were coming off big losses on Wednesday. The Boilermakers suffered their worst home loss and allowed a season high in points in losing 97-60 to Indiana, while Northwestern fell to top-ranked Michigan 68-46.

"Our guys didn't respond to it, just the start of the game for us," Painter said. "You'd think after getting beat by 37 points on our home court against your rival school you would have more fight to start the game, but it really says a lot to where we are and our immaturity."

Hearn scored 21 of his points in the first half. His previous career high for a game was 23 on Nov. 15 against Mississippi Valley State.

"I don't know if there's ever been a time (my shot) felt like that for the entire half," Hearn said.

"I think I got a couple of the same types of shots in the Nebraska and Michigan games and didn't necessarily knock them down like I did today. Once I got going, it started feeling better and better. I kind of got into a rhythm."

Hearn scored six points on 2-for-11 shooting against Nebraska and seven points on 2-for-8 shooting against Michigan in his previous two games.

"I've been hard on him for a while now, the last week," Carmody said. "He came out and he was totally relaxed."

Purdue won the rebounding battle 46-30.

Northwestern led 43-29 at halftime after shooting 68 percent from the field and 8 of 12 from 3-point range. Hearn's 21 points came on 9-of-10 shooting, 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. Hammons had 11 points and six rebounds for Purdue, which shot 44 percent from the field in the first half.

The Wildcats began the game shooting 4 of 5 from beyond the arc for a 21-7 lead. Purdue reached the double-digit mark with 9:42 left before halftime on Rapheal Davis' layup to cut the lead to 23-10. The Boilermakers whittled the lead to seven twice before halftime but got no closer.

"We didn't come out ready to play and that goes for all of us," Byrd said.

The Boilermakers had won four of their last five in Evanston. Purdue leads the all-time series 122-44.

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