It was great for this group," Chambers said. "It was great for them to take a couple hits and get back up and throw some hits.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Two grueling three-hour practices the last couple days following two Big Ten losses had Penn State refocused on rebounding and defense.
The drills paid off handsomely Thursday night in a 65-45 win over Purdue.
Billy Oliver scored a career-high 21 points and Penn State held the Boilermakers to a season-low 31-percent shooting to snap a six-game losing streak against Purdue and secure first-year coach Patrick Chambers' first Big Ten win with the Nittany Lions (9-7, 1-2).
"It was all about staples, defending and rebounding. Doing the little things," guard Tim Frazier, who added 15 points, said about the recent practices. "There was no doubt in my mind that we would go out and compete. I didn't know what the score would be at the end of the game, but I knew we would go out and compete."
Frazier hit a leaning banker in traffic in the lane to extend the lead to 54-38 with about 8 minutes left. The tough bucket capped an 18-6 run to put the game out of reach.
Robbie Hummel's 14 points and five rebounds paced Purdue (12-4, 2-1), which lost to Penn State for the first time since a 67-64 defeat three years ago in Happy Valley.
This one wasn't nearly as close. Playing with four fouls, Oliver hit back-to-back 3s with just 5 minutes left for a 19-point lead. The Nittany Lions outhustled their opponents and outrebounded them 38-26.
"Our guys won a couple games and they were fat and sassy," Purdue coach Matt Painter said.
Matt Glover led Penn State on the glass with 11 rebounds, to go with five assists and two steals.
"If we could get somebody to play as hard as Matt Glover," Painter lamented. "He made a lot of hustle plays for them and that's something we've really prided our program in, doing whatever it takes — guarding rebounding and being unselfish."
D.J. Byrd had 12 points for Purdue, which narrowed a 15-point deficit in the first half to 36-32 off Hummel's layup with 15:15 left.
But Penn State regrouped and went on a 7-0 run finished by Frazier's layup on the break following a steal by Glover.
An uncharacteristically sloppy first half left Purdue trailing 32-18 halftime, the Boilermakers' lowest-scoring half of the season. Penn State held Purdue without a field goal the final 6:46 of a half in which coach Matt Painter's club committed seven turnovers, or about three fewer than its average for an entire game.
The enthusiastic Chambers has used the word "attitude" as an energetic slogan for his squad all season. He relies on his players to battle under the boards and hustle for loose balls.
"It was great for this group," Chambers said. "It was great for them to take a couple hits and get back up and throw some hits."
Oliver, a 6-foot-8 forward who likes to roam the perimeter, scored 12 in the first half on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.
"When Billy plays like that it really opens up a lot of things for" Frazier, Chambers said. "Now you don't know who to stop."
Penn State led by as much as 15 in the half on Sasa Borovnjak's layup with 3 minutes to go before Purdue made its second-half push.
Jermaine Marshall added 10 points and five rebounds for the Nittany Lions, who played without starting guard Cammeron Woodyard (left hamstring).