Boilermakers outlast Huskies

PORTLAND, Ore. - Survive and advance, that's the mantra. That's exactly what Purdue did Saturday afternoon at the Rose Garden, taking Washington's best second-half punch and still stayed standing with a 76-74 win to move to the round of 16 in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, and crushing the Huskies' hopes of revenging a Sweet 16 loss to Connecticut three years ago.

"It sounds so good," Purdue freshman guard Lewis Jackson said after the win. "To get over the hump is a special feeling."

"We definitely want to go as far as we can so all the hard work can pay off," added sophomore guard E'Twaun Moore.

With five of six Pac-10 teams winning their first-round games, it appeared the conference just might buck the opinion of many nationally that teams on the west coast just might have the staying power necessary to make a sizable dent in the tournament. But with Washington's loss and UCLA's earlier loss to Villanova Saturday, it will be up to USC, Arizona and Arizona State to carry the mantle for the conference the rest of the way.

With the win, the Boilermakers will face UConn in Glendale, Ariz. Thursday. The other Huskies beat Texas A&M 92-66 to punch their ticket to the Sweet 16. It's the first time Purdue has won more than one game in the NCAA Tournament in nine years. In 2000 they made it all the way to the Elite 8 before losing to conference foes Wisconsin 64-60.

The Boilermakers were led by the 22 points of center JaJuan Johnson. He was followed in double-digit scoring by Moore with 14, Jackson with 11 and Keaton Grant with 10. Grant also tallied 10 rebounds. 86 percent of Washington's scoring came courtesy of Isaiah Thomas (24 points), Quincy Pondexter (20 points) and Jon Brockman (20 points).

Brockman, playing in his last game as a Husky, also tied a career-high with 18 rebounds, also tallying his 60th career double-double. The senior from Snohomish leaves Montlake the Huskies' all-time rebounder with 1283 boards. Doug Smart is number-two on the list with 1051. He also leaves with 1805 points, moving himself into the number-two position all-time behind the 2073 points of Chris Welp.

"The saddest thing about the whole entire...when you look at everything it's last time this group will play together," Brockman said after the game. "And that's probably what hurts more than anything."

"I'm going to go out on a limb and say we'll never get a player like Jon Brockman," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said. "Maybe as talented, but not like him. He is unlike anyone I've ever seen or played with."

Thomas was three points shy of his season-high versus Morgan State, and Pondexter scored in double-figures in 13 of the final 14 games this season for the Huskies.

The Boilers earned their win the hard way, under extreme circumstances. In what felt more like a home game for the Huskies - Seattle is just three hours by car from Portland - Purdue hung tough after landing some initial shots to take a double-digit lead at half. And when the Huskies sped up the game and narrowed the score, the Boilermakers never relinquished their poise or the lead.

Washington (27-9) never led in the game, and the closest they would come was two points down the stretch, but the Huskies could never create their own lead and really turn the crowd into a determining factor.

"We were able to get the lead and they played from behind," Painter said. "And I think that was key for us to take the crowd out of it." After Elston Turner hit a 3-pointer for Washington to close Purdue's lead to four with 9:34 left in the game, Painter called a timeout, their last one available. The crowd was as loud as it had been all game long.

"I would have kept calling time outs, I tried my best to keep the crowd out of it by calling time outs," he added.

Both teams were in the bonus with 11 and a half minutes to go in regulation, and the Boilers went 14-17 during that stretch, while Washington could only muster eight trips to the charity stripe, making five.

"As the crowd got into it, we took better shots and made our free throws down the stretch," Purdue's Chris Kramer said.

After a Moore miss from three and the Huskies down two, 73-71, UW had a chance to even the score with over a minute remaining. But Johnson was able to block two shots - one from Brockman and one from Pondexter, and Robbie Hummel was able to come up with a key rebound.

"That was probably the play of the game," Painter said of Johnson's defensive effort. "That's what you have to have at the end of the game."

On the ensuing trip down the floor, Moore missed a layin coming in from the right side, giving Washington one more chance to tie. Thomas drove the lane and put up a floater that never found the bottom of the net.

"Those two drives, it was open," Thomas said. "It's shots I usually make."

Kramer came up with the rebound in front of the Washington bench and quickly passed the ball up court to Moore, who was fouled with 13.5 seconds left.

His two made free throws gave Purdue a four-point lead and the game.

"We have a resilient group," Painter said. "Our guys play well together."

Washington needed to come out firing on all cylinders to take the steam out of the Boilers' defensive effort, and just the opposite happened. A Keaton Grant 3-pointer gave Purdue a 10-4 lead at the 13:11 mark of the first half and expanded their lead to 20-8 when Grant buried another trey.

"Our team did a great job today coming out to play today from the jump," Moore said. We knew they were a great team. We knew we had to come out with a lot of energy."

UW pushed back, and when Isaiah Thomas scored a layin off a Justin Dentmon steal, the Huskies were only down four, 22-18, with 7:32 remaining.

The Boilermakers were just starting to heat up from outside, as Grant, Robbie Hummel and Moore all hit bombs, and center JaJuan Johnson punctuated the Purdue first-half effort with a strong two-hand flush with just 3.8 seconds left to give them a 39-28 halftime advantage - only the second time all season long the Huskies had faced a double-digit deficit at intermission.

The Huskies wouldn't quit, however. Down by as many as 14 after a driving layup by Jackson with 18:41 left in regulation, Romar called time out. Washington slowly began chipping away at the lead, the largest put on them all year long outside of the 21 by Arizona State in the semi-finals of the Pac-10 Tournament. Brockman and Thomas combined for five straight points to take the margin out of double-digits with 16:25 left, and then worked themselves all the way down to four after Turner's 3-pointer.

But the Boilers put on a run of their own, pushing the lead back to eight after a Johnson jump shot with 5:54 remaining. From that point on, Purdue's lead never moved past five, but never dwindled below two either, despite numerous Washington chances.

"You know, I think it was because of the position we put ourselves in the first half," said Brockman. "It was a constant effort to climb back into it. It just came down to the fact that they made plays and we couldn't get stops when we needed to get them."

"A lot of people talk about offensive possessions and making shots; it almost always comes down to getting stops and we were able to get a stop," Painter added.
Points: Thomas 24, Pondexter 20, Brockman 20, Dentmon 5, Turner 3, Gant 2
Rebounds: Brockman 18, Pondexter 10, Thomas 2, Turner 2, Gant 1
Assists: Brockman 3, Thomas 3, Dentmon 3, Pondexter 2, Bryan-Amaning 1, Turner 1
Steals: Dentmon 2, Brockman 1, Thomas 1
Blocks: Pondexter 2, Brockman 1 Top Stories