After building a 30-point halftime lead, Purdue cruised to a 97-62 win over Central Michigan Saturday in Mackey Arena.
The Boilers were led by Sasha Stevanovic with 23 points. He was 8 of 3 from the field – including 7 of 10 from 3-point line. Joining him in double figures were Trevion Williams (12 points and 12 rebounds), Isaiah Thompson (11 points) and Matt Haarms (11 points).
With Purdue up 14 late in the first half, Stevanovic kinda took over. He was 6 of 7 from 3-point distance in the opening 20 minutes of the game.
"It’s a game changer," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "Anytime someone can make 6 3s in a half it’s gonna put you in a position going into halftime being up 30 even though it was not solely him, but that spurt for us definitely gave us an advantage and it ended up being the difference in the game."
Painter was impressed with how Stefanovic led his team on the run.
"He’s had a couple of games at home that he’s shot that way and we’ve had big wins in those games," he said.
Haarms, who was hurt in the second half of the Nebraska loss, made his return on Saturday. He played 11:12 minutes and was 5 of 7 from the field, including 1 of 2 from 3-point range.
"I thought it was a perfect first game him coming back," Painter said. "He played 11 or 12 minutes and he played well, gets some confidence and hopefully will be ready to go on Jan. 2."
Painter was also happy with the productivity of Williams against Central Michigan.
"Trevion did some good things," he said. "Obviously, getting 12 rebounds in 20 minutes was impressive."
Central Michigan was led by David Di Leo with 12 points.
Purdue will return to action after the first of the year. Next up is a 7 p.m. game hosting Minnesota on Thursday.
For Painter, he wants his team to build upon games thus far.
"We played quality competition," he said. "We would have liked to have won a couple more of those, but hopefully we can learn from it. Hopefully we can have that surge in Big Ten play like we did last year. We are not really looking at anything (specific that has to improve), but just being better at what we do and being consistent."
• Purdue improved to 8-5 overall with a 97-62 win over Central Michigan in front of 14,804 fans at Mackey Arena … the attendance marked Purdue's 15th straight sellout dating to last season.
• The Boilermakers ended non-conference play with a 7-4 record for the second straight season … Purdue's losses this year are to Texas, Florida State, Marquette and Butler … last year's losses were to Virginia Tech, Florida State, Texas and Notre Dame.
• Purdue is now 58-16 all-time against the MAC, including 14-1 under Matt Painter.
• Purdue's 97 points were a season high and the most in a regulation game since scoring 98 against Lipscomb on Dec. 30, 2017.
• Purdue has held every opponent to 70 or fewer points this year.
• Purdue's 30-point halftime lead (51-21) was its largest lead since Jan. 20, 2018, vs. Iowa (51-20) and the 19th-largest halftime lead in school history.
• Purdue's 14 3-pointers were a season high, surpassing the 13 made against Virginia on Dec. 4, 2018 … over the last three games, Purdue is 30 of 70 (.429) from 3-point range.
• Purdue ends the decade with a 234-114 (.672) record, including a 143-26 (.846) record at Mackey Arena.
• Sasha Stefanovic scored a career-high 23 points on a career-high seven 3-pointers with a career-high five assists … the seven 3-pointers are tied for the seventh most in a game in school history.
• Eric Hunter Jr., tallied 16 points with six assists and two steals … over the last three games, Hunter is averaging 14.7 PPG and 3.7 APG, while shooting 8 of 13 (.615) from long distance.
• Matt Haarms returned to the lineup after missing two games with a concussion … he tallied 11 points and two rebounds in 11 minutes of action … Purdue is now 25-4 in his career when he scores in double figures.
• Trevion Williams recorded his second straight double-double, and third in the last four games, with 12 points and 12 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action … over the last four games, he is averaging 14.0 PPG and 10.5 RPG in just 22.8 MPG.
– Purdue Athletics contributed to this report.