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Dec. 20, 1997
Purdue Holds on for 86-84 Victory
INDIANAPOLIS - Brian Cardinal had a go-ahead layup with 1:24 remaining and
added a free throw with 27 seconds left, helping seventh-ranked
Purdue hold off a furious second-half comeback by 10th-ranked
The non-conference battle of top 10 teams saw Purdue squander a
20-point lead before recovering and rallying in the final seven
minutes for its fourth straight victory. Xavier missed a
potential tying shot in the waning seconds and has lost two of
three after opening the season with five straight victories.
"This was like an NCAA (Tournament) game," Purdue coach Gene
Keady said. "It was a great atmosphere out there tonight. I
can't say enough about our fans and the support they showed us."
Jaraan Cornell scored 20 of his career-high 28 points in the
first half and Chad Austin added 25 for the Boilermakers, who
opened a 54-34 lead on a foul shot by Austin with 19:10
"(Cornell) has had studying on his mind and has not been focused
on basketball," Keady said. "That's OK. We really want our kids
to stay focused in the classroom, obviously. Tonight he did an
excellent job of carrying us in the first half. He hit some big
But Darnell Williams ingited the Musketeers with 11 points in a
35-12 run. Xavier took a 69-66 lead on Williams' basket with
"We are bitterly disappointed that we didn't play well in the
first half," Xavier coach Skip Prosser. "The second half we
played with a little more poise and that sparked us. For Xavier
to play this game, it's a big step forward for our program."
Purdue (9-2) took an 83-79 lead on Cornell's eight-footer with
2:17 left, before Xavier grabbed its last lead at 84-83 when Pat
Kelsey hit the first of two foul shots with 1:43 left.
The Musketeers (6-2) had a chance to tie in the final seconds,
but Lenny Brown's jumper went in and out with four seconds to
go. Cardinal, who contributed 10 points, batted the rebound out
towards midcourt and the clock expired.
"(Xavier) was relentless," Keady said. "I really like the way
they play. They have excellent balance and they kind of mirror
Williams led Xavier with 24 points, while Brown added 16 and
James Posey 15.
Purdue center Brad Miller, who returned to the lineup after
missing last weekend's Boilermaker Invitational with a bruised
elbow, scored nine points before fouling out with nine minutes
"Now all we have to do is get some guys to stay eligible," Keady
said. "we're getting better. Tonight we found a way to win. We
didn't finish against North Carolina (a 73-69 loss in November),
but tonight we had good focus."
Saturday's game was the first between Purdue and Xavier in 18
years and the first time Boilermakers coach Gene Keady faced the
Musketeers. Purdue increased its lead in the series to 7-1.
"I'm disappointed that when we got the lead, we didn't close it
out," Prosser said. "In the first half, our halfcourt offense
led to bad halfcourt defense. To beat Purdue, you have to play
more than 25 minutes."