CHICAGO -- The chalk rolls on.
This tournament began with a bang Thursday afternoon, but hasn't featured many upsets (or thrillers, for that matter) since. Purdue's never-in-doubt 65-43 win over No. 14-seed St. Peter's Thursday night was no different. The Boilermakers built a 33-17 lead by the end of the first half, and though St. Peter's never stopped competing, Matt Painter's team cruised.
Turning point: The opening tip? OK, so that's not fair; St. Peter's didn't go away immediately. The Peacocks' defense was their calling card this season, and they did hold Purdue to just six points in the first five minutes of action. But Purdue soon went on a 9-0 run, punctuated by a ferocious JaJuan Johnson dunk via baseline inbounds alley-oop. From that point forward, this one was all Purdue.
Key player: Johnson. None of the Boilers shot particularly well, including the big man, but Johnson scored 16 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, dominating the middle on the way to the win.
Key stat: Again, St. Peter's was by no means a bad defensive team this season, and they played up to their standards against the Boilermakers. Problem was, Purdue's defense is pretty good too. The Boilermakers held the Peacocks to 17-of-57 from the field, and Purdue grabbed 79 percent of available rebounds on its own end.
Miscellaneous: St. Peter's mascot, as seen here, is not shy in the rump-shaking department. But his plumage could probably use a bit of an update.
What's next: Purdue will advance to play the winner of Georgetown-VCU, the final game of the night, the next step in its year-long quest to reach the Final Four without injured star Robbie Hummel. St. Peter's ends its season at 20-14 overall.