Dec. 16, 1997

Purdue Faces No. 10 Xavier in 5th Annual Boilermaker BlockBuster

  • #8/#7 Purdue Boilermakers (8-2) vs. #10/#10 Xavier Muskateers (6-1)
  • Saturday/Dec.20, 1997/7:00 p.m. EST
  • Indianapolis, Ind./Market Square Arena (16,530)
  • Radio: Purdue Sports Network, Larry Clisby (PBP), Steve Reid (color)
  • Television: ESPN-Plus Live Broadcast, Jim Barbar (PBP), Bob Ford (color)

Quick Look at Purdue:
The No. 8/7 Boilermakers (8-2) defeated San Francisco 107-82 on Dec. 13 to win their sixth straight Boilermaker Invitational championship. Purdue played the tournament without center Brad Miller, who is nursing a bruised elbow. However, Miller is expected to return to action against No. 10/10 Xavier (6-1) in the fifth annual Boilermaker BlockBuster in Indianapolis' Market Square Arena on Dec. 20. The matchup with Xavier will mark the third top-10 ranked opponent for Purdue this season, and the Muskateers will be the seventh team the Boilers have played that earned an NCAA Tournament bid a year ago. Xavier defeated rival Cincinnati 88-68 on Dec. 13 in its last game. It's "Finals Week" for Purdue.

The Series:
Purdue leads the series with Xavier 6-1. The series dates to a 49-26 win by Purdue in 1936 in Cincinnati. Purdue won the last meeting with the Muskateers in 1979, 66-58 at Xavier. Xavier's only win came in 1948, 44-43, in West Lafayette. Gene Keady has never faced Xavier.

Head Coach Gene Keady:
Purdue's Gene Keady (Kansas State '58) is 412-181 (.695) in his 20th season as a Division I head coach and 374-162 (.698) in his 18th season with the Boilermakers. He passed Ward Lambert as Purdue's all-time winningest coach on Dec. 6 by defeating Louisville 87-69. Lambert recorded 371 wins in 28 1/2 years. The six-time Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year has guided Purdue to six league titles (1984, 1987, 1988, 1994, 1995 and 1996) and 16 postseason tournament bids, including five straight NCAA Tournaments. Keady has been honored as the nation's top coach five years (1984, 1988, 1994, 1995, 1996). On the national scene. Purdue finished third, 12th and tied for fourth in the final AP poll from 1994-96, respectively. In Big Ten games, he is the third winningest coach all-time with a 203-103 (.663) record and is fifth in victories. Keady was inducted into the National Junior College Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990. Keady has also led the United States to a 22-2 (.917) international mark and four medals (two golds, a silver and bronze).

Two 1,000-Point Scorers:
Senior Brad Miller scored 19 points against Alabama-Birmingham in game four to become the 35th player in Purdue history to go over 1,000 points for his career. Miller has 1,098 points and now ranks 26th on the Boilers' all-time scoring list. Classmate Chad Austin also has 1,000 points, ranking 15th with 1,281.

Keady Honored:
Purdue coach Gene Keady was honored before the Tennessee-Martin game on Dec. 12 in a brief ceremony for becoming the all-time winningest coach at Purdue (on Dec. 6 at Louisville), and for coaching his 1,000th game (at all levels) vs. the Skyhawks. President Steven C. Beering gave Keady a President's Medal for outstanding achievement and service to the university over an extended period, and athletic director Morgan Burke and assistants Bruce Weber, Frank Kendrick and Jay Price presented Keady with a plaque commemorating his milestone victory. Keady is only the eighth recipient to receive the President's Medal. In addition, Purdue's floor was named "Keady Court."

BlockBuster History:
Purdue is 3-1 all-time in Boilermaker BlockBuster games in Indianapolis' Market Square Arena. Glenn Robinson and the Boilers defeated Houston 114-90 in the first one in 1993. Purdue beat New Orleans in 1994 (76-68), Texas Christian in 1995 (88-69), and lost to Louisville last year (88-72).

Boiler Bits:
Purdue is averaging 89.8 points and giving up 72.3 (17.6 margin) ... the Boilers are averaging 105.0 points in four games at Mackey Arena. Purdue has scored 100 or more points in three of four games at home ... Purdue has five players averaging in double figures, led by Chad Austin (20.1) ... Austin also leads the team in assists (4.0) ... Purdue is shooting 73.8 percent from the foul line and Alan Eldridge leads the team (.941) ... Purdue is 1-2 vs. ranked teams (lost to No. 4 North Carolina and No. 7 Kentucky, defeated No. 25 Louisville) ... four of Purdue's eight wins have come over 1997 NCAA Tournament teams ... Purdue has made as many free throws (186) as its opponents have attempted (186) ... Austin has scored 20-plus points in his last four games.

Boilers By Committee:
Through the first 10 games of the season, Purdue has had five different (counting ties) scoring leaders. Chad Austin led the way against Long Island, UMass, Kentucky and San Francisco. Brad Miller had 29 points vs. North Carolina and 27 vs. Louisville. Austin and Miller each had 19 points vs. Alabama-Birmingham. Sophomores Mike Robinson and Brian Cardinal had 29 and 20 points, respectively, vs. Northeast Louisiana and Valparaiso. Jaraan Cornell and Austin had 25 points vs. Tennessee-Martin.

Trey Watch:
Senior Chad Austin has 164 career three-point field goals. He needs 16 to pass Cuonzo Martin as Purdue's all-time leader. Martin had 179 from 1992-95.

Boilers Set Field Goal Percentage Record in Opener vs. Long Island:
Purdue shot 77.0 percent from the field (47-61) vs. Long Island to set a school record. The old mark of 75.5 came against Michigan in 1981. The Boilers shot an incredible 82.1 percent on 23-28 shooting in the second half. Purdue came up one short of another school record for most points in a game. The school mark is 120 vs. Indiana in 1969.

Purdue Wins When Leading At Halftime:
Purdue has a 101-5 (.953) record the past five-plus years in games they have led at halftime. The Boilers have won 60 of their last 62 games when leading at the break. The last five-plus seasons: 7-1 in 1997-98, 14-1 in 1996-97, 23-0 in 1995-96, 18-1 in 1994-95, 26-1 in 1993-94 and 13-1 in 1992-93.

Tough Schedule: Purdue is playing one of the most difficult schedules in the nation this season. Six of Purdue's opponents were ranked in the preseason Associated Press top 25 poll: North Carolina (4), Kentucky (8), Xavier (10), Iowa (15), Indiana (17) and Louisville (25). Purdue has already defeated four NCAA Tournament teams from 1997: Long Island, Valparaiso, UMass and Louisville.

Mr. Double-Double: Senior Brad Miller has posted back-to-back double-doubles. Against No. 7-ranked Kentucky, Miller had 10 points and 14 rebounds. Against No. 25 Louisville, Miller had a fabulous gamewith 27 points and 14 boards. In those two games combined, Miller averaged 18.5 points, 14.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per contest. He also shot 63.2 percent from the field.

Impressive Non-Conference Record in the 1990s: Purdue has a 69-18 (.793) regular season record vs. non-conference opponents in the 1990s. The last seven years: 7-2 (1997), 5-5 (1996), 10-2 (1995), 9-3 (1994-95), 12-0 (1993-94), 9-0 (1992-93), 8-4 (1991-92) and 8-2 (1990-91).

Last Game:
Senior Chad Austin scored 29 points and dished out five assists to lift Purdue past San Francisco in the championship game of the eighth annual Boilermaker Invitational, 107-82. The Boilers had to rally for their sixth straight title and seventh overall. Purdue trailed 13-0 and didn't score until Brian Cardinal scored a layup at the 15:55 mark. The Boilers pulled to within one at halftime (46-45), and took the lead for good with 17:01 left on a Cardinal jumper. Purdue outscored the Dons 25-9 in the first eight minutes of the second half. Mike Robinson recorded his first double-double of the season with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Cardinal had 14 points, Alan Eldridge 12 and Jaraan Cornell 11 as Purdue had five double-digit scorers. Purdue shot 54.9 percent from the field, 42.9 from three-point land and 88.5 from the line. Austin was named tournament MVP, Cardinal, Robinson and Cornell were named all-tournament.