Mason Gillis pushes No. 5 Purdue past Rutgers

Mason Gillis scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds to help No. 5 Purdue hold off Rutgers for a 70-65 victory in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals on Friday afternoon in Chicago.

The top-seeded Boilermakers (27-5) advanced to the semifinals on Saturday where they will face either Ohio State or Michigan State.

Ninth-seeded Rutgers (19-14) will now await its NCAA Tournament fate. The Scarlet Knights entered Friday’s game being projected as one of the last four teams in by ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi.

Purdue secured its first-ever victory in program history as the top seed in the Big Ten tournament.

And they did it in large part thanks to Gillis, who started and provided Purdue a huge lift, shooting 7-for-8 from the field as the Boilermakers beat Rutgers for only the second time in their past seven meetings.

Gillis’ play was clutch with Rutgers paying extra defensive attention to Purdue center Zach Edey, who still managed to score 16 points and grab 11 rebounds. David Jenkins Jr. added 12 points off the bench.

Derek Simpson led the Scarlet Knights with 18 points despite shooting 5-for-16 from the field. Cam Spencer added 13 points and Paul Mulcahy and Clifford Omoruyi each had 10.

Rutgers jumped out to a 17-5 lead to open the game, but Purdue grabbed a 29-28 lead by halftime in a game that featured 11 lead changes.

Tied at 44, Purdue took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Jenkins with 10:13 left in the second half.

The Scarlet Knights pulled within a point with 8:29 to go on Simpson’s 3-pointer before Purdue used a 6-0 run to create some separation

Rutgers had a chance to get close late but Simpson was called for an offensive foul with 1:30 left and Purdue leading 63-57.

Gillis hit 1 of 2 free throws and a key runner as the shot clock expired with 55 seconds left to extend the Boilermakers’ lead to nine and effectively put the game out of reach.

–Field Level Media

FLM Direct-Baller

Field Level Media was founded by sports media executives with more than 40 years of combined experience working with the most influential media companies in the industry.

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