Sophomore guard Marcus Thornton led all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-14 from the field to go along with a career-high six assists. Junior forward Tim Rusthoven added 16 points on 8-of-14 from the field and a team-high seven rebounds. Junior forward Kyle Gaillard finished with 12 points and five assists, while junior guard Brandon Britt chipped in 11 points.
Purdue raced out of the gates as Terone Johnson scored on a conventional 3-point play and then knocked down a triple to push the Boilermaker lead to 10-3 at the 15:40 mark. W&M answered with nine of the game's next 11 points to pull even at 12 on a pair of Thornton free throws with 11:59 remaining.
The Boilermakers pushed its lead to as many as seven points, 30-23, on a 3-point play by at the 5:07 mark of the opening half. W&M used a seven-point run to take its first lead of the opening half. With Purdue leading 34-28, Gaillard knocked down a 3-pointer from the right side, before the 6-8 forward drove the lane and dished to Rusthoven for a lay-up. Gaillard knocked down a pair of free throws at the 2:16 mark to put the Green and Gold on top 35-34.
A bucket in the paint by put the Boilers back on top, 39-37, with 45 seconds remaining in the half. A Thornton steal led to a 3-pointer from the right corner for Britt to send the Green and Gold to the locker room on top, 40-39. The Tribe connected on 60 percent (15-of-25) from the floor in the opening half, including a 5-of-10 effort from 3-point range.
Purdue scored the opening four points of the second half to retake the lead, but a Thornton lay-up at the 15:38 mark drew the Tribe back even at 45. The Boilermakers answered with seven straight points as its lead ballooned 52-45, at the 13:53 mark.
W&M answered right back, scoring nine of the game's next 11 points to tie things at 54. Thornton ignited the run as he scored four points and dished out a pair of assists. After finding junior guard Julian Boatner for a 3-pointer from the right corner, Thornton stole the ball on the defensive end and made a nice spin move to convert a fast-break lay-up at the 11:09 mark tying the contest at 54.
Back-to-back post moves by Rusthoven answered two straight buckets from Purdue to tie the contest again at 58. Purdue pushed its lead back to six, 66-60, on a bucket from A.J. Hammons at the 3:19 mark. Four straight Tribe points from Rusthoven and Thornton drew W&M within 66-64 less than a minute later. It would be as close as the Tribe would get the rest of the way as Purdue scored six straight points on the way to a 73-66 victory.
For the game, W&M shot 49.1 percent (27-of-55) and was 7-of-20 from 3-point range (35 percent). Defensively, Purdue entered the game 30th in defensive field goal percentage (37.9 percent) and 41st in defensive 3-point percentage (28.7 percent). The Green and Gold finished with 19 assists on its 27 made field goals. Purdue shot 45.2 percent (28-of-62) from the field and held a decisive advantage at the free throw line, connecting on 14-of-19 (73.3 percent). The Boilers, who entered the game among the top 20 nationally in rebounding margin, held a slim 33-31 advantage on the glass over W&M.
Terone Johnson led Purdue in scoring at 16 points to go along with five assists, while Hammons finished with 14 points on 7-of-13 from the field and six rebounds. Ronnie Johnson rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points and a game-high seven assists.
The Tribe returns to action when it travels to SEC foe Vanderbilt on Wednesday, Jan. 2. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. in Nashville, Tenn., and the game will be available on Comcast Sports Southeast as well as ESPN3. Tribe fans can also follow the action on the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM in Williamsburg is the flagship station of the Tribe Radio Network and the broadcast will be available on TribeAthletics.com as well.