CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- D.J. Richardson scored 18 points and Illinois opened up a big first-half lead that buried Purdue 79-59 on Wednesday night.
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.
Colosseum Athletics Men's Illinois Fighting Illini Blue Layup ShortsPrice: $24.99 Shop
The Big 12/SEC Challenge will again feature Kansas and Kentucky, this time at Rupp Arena. That's not the only exciting matchup in next season's midseason conference showdown.
Northwestern has never made the NCAA tournament, but the Wildcats' upward trajectory suggests 2016-17 could finally be the season it happens.
Dillon Brooks, who led Oregon with 16.7 points per game last season, will opt out of the NBA draft process and return to the Ducks, a source told ESPN.