WEST LAFEYETTE, Ind. -- There would be no rally Saturday.
West Virginia fell down by double digits for the third time in as many road games and Purdue used a throttling start of the second half to make sure the Mountaineers would not get back up in a 79-52 win at Mackey Arena.
WVU has lost three straight games, matching the longest streak in six seasons with Coach Bob Huggins. The Mountaineers are now 8-9 and haven't been below .500 this late in a season since the end of the 2002-03 season - and John Beilein's first team was 11-6 after 17 games.
"I didn't see it coming," Huggins said of the season. "I just didn't see it."
The Boilermakers made their first four shots after halftime and then made a 3-pointer when they missed their first shot as part of a 15-4 run. A cozy 37-23 lead at the half was up to 52-27 when Huggins called a timeout with 15:46 to go. His team started 0-for-8 in the second half and didn't make a basket for the first 4:55.
The Mountaineers, who came back from 13 points down Jan. 9 to win at Texas and 18 points down to tie the score with 11.5 seconds to go in Wednesday's loss to Iowa State, were never closer than 23 points the rest of the way and trailed by as many as 32 points.
"For the most part," point guard Juwan Staten said, "we didn't do anything right."
D.J. Byrd led all scorers with 17 points. He made 4 of 6 3-point attempts for the Boilermakers. Raphael Davis had 16 points, Anthony Johnson had 12 and Terone Johnson added 11. Purdue shot 49.2 percent from the field and 53.8 percent in the second half and made 8 of 11 3-point shots.
The Boilermakers also outrebounded WVU 44-34, including 24-13 in the second half. Purdue had 23 second-chance points and 22 points of WVU's turnovers.
"We don't take anything away," Huggins said. "This is not what I've built a career on. We let them do what they want to do."
The Mountaineers, who truthfully weren't but a few shots and possessions away from a much better record, had their worst performance since the beginning of the season. WVU opened with an 84-50 loss at Gonzaga Nov. 12 and shot 27.3 percent with 20 turnovers. WVU shot 29.3 percent Saturday with 17 turnovers.
The Mountaineers needed almost 30 minutes before two players had more than one basket. Eron Harris, who was a high school star in Indianapolis, led WVU with 10 points on 2-for-10 shooting three days after a career-high 17 points. Juwan Staten had eight points on 4-for-10 shooting. WVU missed 15 of 18 3-point attempts.