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Jan. 10, 1998

No. 9 Purdue Hands Houston Worst-Ever Home Loss

Chad Austin
Chad Austin led the Boilermakers with 21 points. (File Photo)
Game Stats

HOUSTON (AP) - Purdue found out early in the second half it had nothing to fear from the outgunned Houston Cougars.

Chad Austin scored 21 points and set a school 3-point shooting record as the ninth-ranked Boilermakers handed Houston its worst-ever home loss, 86-53 Saturday night.

The Boilermakers (14-3) took a modest 37-24 halftime lead but quickly took charge with an 18-4 run to start the second half and the Cougars (7-7) lost their seventh in a row. Houston's previous worst home defeat was 110-78 against Texas in 1994.

"We were afraid with six losses in a row, they would be like wounded bears so we wanted to get after them early," Purdue coach Gene Keady said. "We were not going to let them get up on us."

Austin hit a 3-pointer to start Purdue's second-half surge, giving him 180 or his career, one more than Cuonzo Martin (1992-1995).

"I was very disappointed in our fast-break decisions, but a lot of times he (Austin) helped us out by making the best of situtions," Keady said. "We shot pretty well and part of that was because he was hitting outside and that opened things up inside."

Houston coach Alvin Brooks thinks the Boilermakers will be tough to beat.

"They've got to be the best shooting team I've seen," Brooks said. "They spread you out. They put a big guy on the low post and you've got to bring someone out to help a little bit and they've got Austin out there to spot up for 3s."

The Boilermakers actually started their victory drive late in the first half.

Jaraan Cornell, who finished with 20 points, scored 10 of his 13 first-half points over the final five minutes, helping the Boilermakers to pull away to their 13-point halftime lead.

"The last few minutes of the first half we were right in there," Brooks said. "If we could have gotten off to a good start in the second half, we could have brought it down to the wire. Breakdowns at the start of the second half are killing us."

Houston trailed 24-18 with five minutes left in the half but Cornell made it 26-18 and the Boilermakers' next three baskets were 3-pointers, two by Cornell and one by Austin. Cornell closed out the half with a steal and layup.

Purdue extended its lead in the second half to 63-37 with 11:05 to play and the Cougars never challenged. Austin had six points over the first three minutes of the second half.

Forward Galen Robinson, Houston's leading scorer for the season, drew two fouls in the first 1:54 and was not a factor in the first half. He came back in the second half, was ineffective and got into a scuffle with Purdue's Brian Cardinal.

Shamahn McBride scored 17 points to lead the Cougars, who haven't won a game since beating California 54-51 on Dec. 9. Purdue, beginning a three-game road trip, won for the ninth time in 10 games.