Sasha Stefanovic broke out of a mini-slump in a big way, drilling seven 3-pointers for a career-high 21 points in Purdue’s 97-62 rout of Central Michigan on Saturday at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.
Stefanovic entered the nonconference game with just 15 points in his last three games, and had scored in double figures in only three games all season. The sophomore guard hit 7 of 10 treys and added five assists, while Eric Hunter Jr. added 16 points and six assists and Trevion Williams had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
The Boilermakers (8-5) improved to 7-1 all-time against Central Michigan, winning their third straight game in the series. Purdue led 71-34 following Hunter’s layup with 12:27 left in regulation to end a streak of seven straight games of not reaching the 70-point mark. It was Purdue’s longest streak since Jan. 24 to Feb. 16, 2013 (eight games).
Meanwhile, Purdue’s defense clamped down and held its 13th opponent to 70 or fewer points, its longest streak since the 2010-11 season.
David DiLeo tallied 12 points and Rob Montgomery and Travon Broadway Jr. both finished with 10 for the Chippewas (7-6), who made just 3 of 22 shots from 3-point range.
After losing to Butler seven days ago, the Boilermakers responded with a strong effort from the opening tip to head into Thursday’s Big Ten Conference home showdown against Minnesota with some momentum.
Purdue, which had its longest home layoff (20 days) in Matt Painter’s 15-year tenure, raced out to a 28-14 lead in the first half in a dominating effort in its final nonconference game.
The Boilermakers welcomed the return of Matt Haarms. The 7-foot-3 junior center sat out the last two games after suffering a concussion in a loss at Nebraska on Dec. 15. Haarms was effective in limiting playing time, connecting on 5 of 7 shots, including a 3-pointer, to finish with 11 points and two rebounds in 11 minutes.
—Field Level Media