Purdue Beats Illinois, 75-72

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Feb. 14, 1998

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Chad Austin scored 26 points and No. 8 Purdue overcame a frigid start to battle back from an early 15-point deficit and beat Illinois 75-72 Saturday.

The game wasn't decided until Jerry Hester's 3-point attempt at the buzzer hit the front of the rim and bounced away.

It was the seventh consecutive victory for Purdue (22-4, 10-2 Big Ten) and snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Illini (18-8, 10-3).

Brad Miller scored 16 points for the Boilermakers, who outscored Illinois 28-6 at the foul line, while Mike Robinson added 12 and Brian Cardinal 10.

Hester scored 27 points and Kevin Turner had 23 for Illinois.

Two free throws by Austin put Purdue ahead 67-58, but the Illini cut their deficit to 71-70 on a three-point play by Hester with 1:22 to play. Austin answered with a 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining and Hester made it 74-72 with 25 seconds to go.

Two seconds later Alan Eldridge made one of two free throws for the Boilermakers. Hester missed a 3-point attempt and Purdue had a chance to wrap up the game when Tony Mayfield was fouled going for the rebound. However, Mayfield missed both free throws to give the Illini another chance to tie.

Robinson then fouled Hester with 2.7 seconds left before he could attempt a 3-pointer and the Illini got the ball out of bounds since it was only Purdue's sixth foul of the half. Hester then missed the final chance at the tie.

The Illini came out firing, hitting four 3-pointers as they made their first seven shots to take a 19-4 lead. The Boilermakers were scoreless until Miller made two free throws with 16:30 left in the half, having missed their first six shots.

Austin scored 13 points in the first half and the Boilermakers trailed 36-30 at halftime.

The Boilermakers, who played without outside scoring threat Jaraan Cornell and his 13.9 average because of an ankle injury sustained on Tuesday, scored the first seven points of the second half to take their first lead. There were four lead changes and two ties before the Boilermakers moved ahead to stay 49-47 on two free throws by Cardinal, who scored all 10 of his points in the second half.