WEST LAFAYETTE — Sasha Stefanovic scored 14 points and Matt Haarms added 12 points to lead Purdue to a 58-44 victory over Northwestern in the Big Ten opener for both teams on Sunday.
The Boilermakers (6-3) led 49-42 with 4:01 to go before reeling off nine straight points to take command.
Stefanovic scored 10 points in the second half including a 3-pointer that capped the 9-0 run and ignited the crowd.
Jahaad Proctor added 10 points for Purdue, which won its seventh in a row over Northwestern.
Pete Nance led Northwestern (4-4) with 14 points. He was the only Wildcat in double figures.
Haarms, Trevion Williams and Eric Hunter Jr. each had seven rebounds as Purdue held a 38-31 edge.
Purdue took a 45-32 edge with 7:21 left in the game on a driving layup by Stefanovic.
After Northwestern reeled off five consecutive points, Haarms answered with a layup.
Purdue, which shot 39% overall, held a 22-16 lead after an ugly first half as both teams suffered long scoring droughts.
After A.J. Turner hit a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a 14-13 with 7:44 left before the break, the Wildcats managed just one field goal the rest of the half.
Northwestern shot just 27 percent in the first half and 34% overall.
Northwestern will look to get its offense in gear and avoid another stumble against SIU-Edwardsville. The Wildcats already have suffered disappointing home losses to Merrimack and Redford.
Fresh from Wednesday’s 69-40 rout of No. 5 Virginia, Purdue began defense of its Big Ten title with a lackluster victory.
Northwestern faces SIU-Edwardsville in a nonconference home game on Sunday.
Purdue is at Big Ten opponent Nebraska on Sunday. The Boilermakers follow that with a nonconference game at Ohio on Dec. 17 and No. 24 Butler at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis on Dec. 21.