A.J. Hammons recorded 18 points and four blocks as the host Boilermakers downed the Cornhuskers.
Ronnie Johnson added 14 points for Purdue (11-5, 1-2 Big Ten), which snapped a two-game losing streak.
Sterling Carter added eight points and seven rebounds for the Boilermakers, who won the battle of the boards 38-34.
Terran Petteway led the way with 19 points and nine rebounds for Nebraska (8-8, 0-4), which fell to 3-10 all-time against Purdue.
Ray Gallegos and Deverell Biggs each scored 10 points while Shavon Shields tied a team high with nine rebounds for the Cornhuskers.
Kendall Stephens hit a 3-pointer to put Purdue on top 18-14 midway through the first half, but the Boilermakers could not pull away from Nebraska despite the fact that the Cornhuskers missed 15 of their first 22 shots.
Stephens nailed another triple to give Purdue a five-point advantage late in the opening period and settled for a 35-32 edge at the break.
The Boilermakers took their biggest lead of the game at 48-42 following Johnson's driving layup before the Cornhuskers went on a 16-7 run to go up by three with 6:43 remaining.
Ronnie Johnson keyed a 9-0 spurt to give Purdue a 64-58 advantage with 1:04 left and the Boilermakers went on to secure their first conference victory.
GAME NOTES: Purdue improved to 120-24 at home under Matt Painter. … The Boilermakers came into the game last in the Big Ten in free-throw shooting and went 17-of-28 from the line. … Nebraska started off 2-of-8 from beyond the arc before finishing 4-of-16.