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Pre-Puerto Rico

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It was a great weekend for Purdue athletics, but the men's basketball team flirted with disaster on Monday and managed to survive. As I often say, the beauty of competition lies in the unknown.

Think about it. When Ohio State scored the tying touchdown in the waning seconds of Saturday's football game, what were the odds that Bruce Gaston would block the PAT attempt? Not knowing the exact odds, I'd venture a guess that they were slim.

The same is true for High Point nearly beating Purdue in basketball on Monday night. It didn't happen, but it could have, and the Panthers would have overcome huge odds. You just never know, no matter how unlikely it seems.

Ryne Smith won the game for Purdue. The senior from Toledo, Ohio, scored a career-high 26 points and tied the single-game program and Mackey Arena records with eight three-point field goals. Ironically, it was his only two-point bucket of the night that provided the winning points.

High Point dared the Boilermakers to win at the three-point line, and the home team got the job done. Just barely, but they did it, and that's all that counts.

Purdue can now breathe just a bit easier for a few days before facing a very good Iona team in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Remember last year, when everyone was touting how good Richmond was? Well, we found out firsthand. The same was said a couple years ago about Siena.

I'm anxious to see how we do against a very good field in Puerto Rico. D.J. Byrd will be back, and that will be important. He was a missing piece in the game on Monday.

Foul shooting was abysmal on Monday, but was very good on opening night. Rarely do you win when hitting 6-of-19 from the line, but again, it doesn't matter. When Robbie Hummel is 1-of-4, you know it's an off night.

Expect some stiff competition over the next week, and expect some very good games. If the High Point game will teach us anything, it will teach us to not overlook anyone on our schedule. That's a perfect lead-in to the Iona game.

Talk to you next week, or maybe earlier from Puerto Rico.

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