WEST LAFAYETTE | Seattle native Sterling Carter didn't have the opportunity to celebrate his mother, Debrea's, birthday with her on Friday, but he wanted to give her a present from afar.
The fifth-year graduate student transfer from Seattle University delivered that gift in a big way Saturday in Mackey Arena, scoring 19 points in the Boilermakers' 82-64 victory against rival Indiana.
The guard, who was averaging 4.3 points per game in a Purdue uniform, fueled a 14-1 burst to begin the second half, extending the Boilermakers' 38-33 halftime lead to 52-34 with just more than 15 minutes remaining.
Carter, who made 6 of 8 field goal attempts including 5 of 6 from 3-point range, scored 10 in that pivotal second-half start that completed a 19-1 run that began with Purdue (15-10, 5-7 Big Ten) scoring the final five points of the first half.
"I'm not from here, but it meant a lot to my teammates, so, I felt that it was my job to make sure we got this victory," Carter said. "It was not only scoring, but it was playing hard and playing with energy. Plus, I had to give my mom a birthday gift."
"We thought Sterling did a hell of a job," said Purdue senior guard Terone Johnson, who contributed 14 points, 12 during the first 20 minutes. "Not only did he knock down big shots, but he did a good job defensively on Yogi Ferrell. He wanted to make Yogi take shots that weren't comfortable. That's what Sterling did."
While Ferrell had 27 points, he was only 6 of 17 from the field, including 4 of 12 from 3-point range.
Indiana (14-11, 4-8) has lost consecutive games to Minnesota, Penn State and now Purdue, since beating Michigan 63-52 on Feb. 2, the Hoosiers.
"Sterling has been making really hard plays, and tonight, he was making shots and feeling it," said Purdue freshman forward Basil Smotherman. "Sterling is not from Indiana, and it's his first Indiana-Purdue game, but he showed out for Seattle today. I was proud of him for never letting up."
Smotherman finished with five points and four rebounds, but his free throw and offensive rebound basket in the first half's final 1.9 seconds turned the game.
"I think that tip-in gave us the momentum," Smotherman said. "In the locker room, Terone said that we had to keep it going in the second half, and we did. We never let up."
The victory snapped Purdue's four-game losing streak to IU, which included the Hoosiers' 97-60 romp last season in Mackey Arena, the most lopsided defeat for the Boilermakers in a building that opened in December 1967.
Indiana had defeated the Boilermakers by an average margin of 23.3 points in those four most recent games in a series that Purdue now leads 113-88.
But once Carter got hot to begin the second half, Purdue had the foundation for its widest margin of victory against the Hoosiers since a 74-55 triumph on March 3, 2010, in Mackey Arena.
For Indiana coach Tom Crean, it was a frustrating night.
"I thought Carter played like you would expect a fifth-year senior would play," Crean said.
Saturday's meeting was the first time since the 1965-66 season that the Boilermakers and Hoosiers met this deep into conference play when each team was saddled with a sub-.500 record. That season, each finished 4-10 in the conference play. Big Ten men's basketball now has 18 conference games.
"Obviously, we made some shots, and I thought Sterling Carter was the difference in the game," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "His ability to knock some shots down at the beginning of the second half got us going. He also did a fairly decent job on Yogi Ferrell.
"We just played with more life. It's easier to do that when you make more shots. That probably was our best shooting game beyond the arc the whole season."
Purdue made 25 of 52 field goal attempts, including 10 of 18 from beyond the arc.