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Purdue 59, Virginia Commonwealth 56

NICEVILLE, Florida - With both teams struggling from the free throw line, Purdue's Eric Hunter Jr. and Jahaad Proctor made foul shots when it counted and VCU didn't.

Hunter and Proctor also each scored 12 points to lead the Boilermakers to a 59-56 upset of the No. 20 Rams in the Emerald Coast Classic.

The win put Purdue (4-2) in the championship game Saturday against Florida State and handed VCU (6-1) its first loss. The teams traded the lead 13 times and were tied 14 times in a ragged contest. It was not decided until a potential game-tying 3-point shot by VCU's De'Riante Jenkins went wide with 4 second left. Hunter grabbed the rebound and it was all over.

Hunter also had given the Boilermakers the lead for good 56-55 with 1:37 left by sinking two free throws. Proctor then made three out of four free throws down the stretch.

Marcus Santos-Silva led the Rams with 19 points but missed three of four free throws in the final 1:16. No other VCU players scored in double figures.

Purdue coach Matt Painter was happy with the win but not how the Boilermakers got it.

"It lets you know you have work to do in some areas," Painter said. "I'm proud of our guys being able to grind it out."

Besides shooting only 65.5 percent from the foul line Purdue also committed 18 turnovers. VCU's free throw percentage was only slightly better at 68.2 percent but the Rams turned the ball over even more.

"We saw some things today that we have to get better on," said VCU coach Mike Rhoades. "There is no reason we should be turning the ball over 21 times."

The only other Boilermaker in double figures was Trevion Williams with 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting, but he fouled out with nearly five minutes left to play.

Associated Press

November 29, 2019