Nov. 26, 2008
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NEW YORK (AP) -
"Get into him. Get into him."
"Move with the ball. Move with it!"
Purdue coach Matt Painter is a blur of constant motion on the sideline, always stalking somewhere and shouting something. The only time he ever seems to stop is when he reaches the end of the bench; then he turns around and marches back in the other direction.
Good thing his team works as hard as he does - especially on defense.
E'Twaun Moore scored 19 points and No. 10 Purdue withstood a late rally to beat Boston College 71-64 on Wednesday night in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
"They constantly put pressure on us," Boston College coach Al Skinner said, "constantly kept the defense up."
They needed to. The Boilermakers (5-0) led by 19 with about 6 1/2 minutes left before the Eagles started whittling the lead. Boston College got to 64-56 on a pair of free throws by Tyrese Rice with 1:42 left, then forced Keaton Grant into a turnover at the other end.
That's when Purdue's defense stepped up one more time.
Sophomore forward Corey Raji was called for an offensive foul while driving to the basket, and the Boilermakers held on from the free throw line.
JaJuan Johnson finished with 12 points, Grant had 11 and Robbie Hummel 10 for Purdue, which advanced to play either No. 11 Oklahoma or Alabama-Birmingham for the championship Friday.
"Sure you get anxious. You have to understand you went from a big lead to a two-possession lead," Painter said of the closing minutes. "We have some guys who have experience and know what to do in those situations."
Rice finished with 17 points for Boston College (3-2). Joe Trapani added 14 points and Josh Southern had nine points and 11 rebounds.
A sparse crowd turned out the night before Thanksgiving to see a pair of teams that excel at defense muddle through a first half that only Dick Butkus could love.
Every time Rice tried to drive from the wing, three Boilermakers were there to clog up the lane. Each time Hummel tried to spot up for 3-pointer, it seemed a dozen Boston College players were shoving their hands in his face.
The Boilermakers, who limited Coppin State to 22 first-half points in their previous game, held the Eagles to 1-for-11 shooting beyond the arc in the first half. But Boston College was just as gritty and proficient on the defensive end, and it took a 12-2 run by Purdue in the closing minutes to take a 34-30 lead into the break.
"We all look for each other. We don't feel like one guy is the man," Grant said. "We looked for each other and tried to get open shots."
Boston College never did get back to even in the second half. Grant hit a 3-pointer and followed it with a three-point play, Chris Kramer jammed one on a run-out and Hummel hit a baseline jumper as Purdue pushed the lead to 51-41 with about 13 minutes left.
The Eagles were so flustered that after a timeout they were nearly too slow getting back on the court. A referee set the ball on the sideline and started counting - something often seen in high school hoops but rarely at this level - before Rice sprinted over and got it inbounds just before a violation.
Rice, a high-scoring senior guard, struggled with his shot for the second straight game. After missing 12 of 14 from the field in the Eagles' loss to Saint Louis last Saturday, Rice was just 4-of-12 shooting and scored most of his points in the closing minutes.
He also committed four of the Eagles' season-high 16 turnovers.
"Our biggest issue was I don't think at times we showed the patience we needed at the offensive end," Skinner said. "We had a number of turnovers trying to make things happen."