WEST LAFAYETTE —
Indiana has won four straight overall, five straight Big Ten road games dating to last season and three straight over the dreaded Boilermakers.
And Zeller's resurgence, following two games in which he had a combined two baskets and 11 points, couldn't have come at a better time.
Next up for the Hoosiers is a Saturday night showdown with No. 1 Michigan, a game that will break up the tie for the Big Ten lead and could dictate which team holds the top spot in next week's poll. The Wolverines defeated Northwestern 68-46 on Wednesday.
But that was the furthest thing from the Hoosiers' minds.
"I thought we played pretty well. It was good to see everyone working together," Zeller said. "When the ball is moving from side to side and up and down the court like that, we're a tough team."
Purdue (11-10, 4-4) found out the hard way.
While freshman center A.J. Hammons scored a career-high 30 points and freshman point guard Ronnie Johnson added 13, just about everything else went wrong for the Boilermakers.
No other player scored more than four points. Only Hammons (10), Ronnie Johnson (five), Terone Johnson (two) and Travis Carroll (two) made more than one basket. The Boilermakers shot just 40 percent from the field (22 of 55) and without Hammons' 10-of-14 night, that dismal shooting percentage would have dropped to an even more mind-boggling 29.3 percent.
While the Boilermakers barely avoided their worst loss in the series, a mark set in that 41-point rout in '92, they still wound up with their worst home loss ever.
Even more troubling was that Purdue didn't look anything like the team that had won four of its last five or its last three at home.
"Facts are facts," Painter said. "They played harder than us and they played better than us. At the end those guys were out there celebrating and that's what it's all about. ... They're a good team and we're not. We play like individuals."