CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) -- Leron Black matched a career high scoring 28 points but No. 9 Purdue got 40 from Carsen Edwards as the Boilermakers beat Illinois 93-86 in the final game of the season at State Farm Center Thursday night.
"We're making ground, we're gaining ground," Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. "We're still, you know, coach speak, nothing I'm going to be happy with, but we're gaining ground."
Unlike their game against Michigan State, there was no second half collapse for Illinois against Purdue. With second-leading scorer Trent Frazier scoring no points in the first 20 minutes, the Illini were within five at the half.
"We're playing great basketball," Frazier said. "Coach talks about it every day. We've had a lot of fight in us this past week and I thought we came out with a lot of fight tonight. We just came up short."
The game included a few surprise performances along the way. Sophomore guard Te'Jon Lucas was inserted into starting lineup and ended the game with 12 points. Freshman Da'Monte Williams scored 11 points of his own and went 3-3 from behind the arc.
"Being able to knock down shots opened up my game," Williams said. "When Leron gets the ball and they double him, you've got to be ready to knock down shots, like coach said."
But despite the improvements, the Illini say it just wasn't enough.
"A loss is a loss," Black said. "We've got to get better. We've got another game on Sunday."
That's the last regular season game of the year, at Rutgers. The Illini won the last meeting back in January.
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