Purdue 69, Colorado State 68
WEST LAFAYETTE (AP)—Purdue freshman Xavier Price looked cool and collected as he stood at the free throw line late in the Boilermakers’ game against Colorado State.
The game was in his hands with the Boilermakers trailing by one point, but that didn’t seem to phase the 6-foot-7 forward.
Price nailed both free throws with 8.9 seconds left and Carl Landry had a steal with time winding down as Purdue beat the Rams 69-68 on Saturday.
“We work on free throws a lot in practice, so it wasn’t a big deal,” said Price, who finished with six points in 20 minutes. “There were no nerves.”
David Teague led Purdue (2-5) with a career-high 23 points and Landry added 16 points and six rebounds for the Boilermakers, who snapped a four-game losing steak and got their first win since a victory over Detroit on Nov. 23.
Jason Smith had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Rams (5-3), who fought back from a 17-point deficit in the second half and had a chance to win the game with five seconds left before Landry dove and stole the ball away from Smith.
“Losing the game like this wasn’t the best moment for our kids, but they had big hearts to get back into the game,” Colorado State coach Dale Layer said.
The Boilermakers looked to be in control after starting the second half on a 7-0 run to open a 48-31 lead. However, the Rams continued to chip away at the deficit, finally making the comeback complete when Jon Rakiecki hit a three-pointer with 27.9 seconds left, giving Colorado State a 68-67 lead.
On Purdue’s ensuing possession, Price was fouled while driving to the lane. After Price hit both free throws, the Rams raced the ball past the half-court line and called timeout.
Following the timeout, Matt Williams inbounded the ball to Smith, who bobbled the pass, took a few dribbles and then tried to get the ball to teammate Micheal Morris. But it was Landry who jumped in front of Morris to finish off Colorado State.
“The kids really needed this victory to boost their confidence,” Purdue coach Gene Keady said. “The kids played with a lot of confidence and enthusiasm, which is good to see”
The first half belonged to Teague and the Boilermakers, who built a 26-12 lead with just over nine minutes to play. Teague, who missed the first two games of the season with a broken right hand, had 14 points to help Purdue take a 36-26 halftime lead.
Teague was playing his first game without having his hand wrapped. He shot 7-of-19 from the field, which included hitting 6-of-15 three-point attempts.
“I’ve been waiting for the day to get that off,” he said. “It helped a lot with my confidence and helped me have a more natural shot.”
Teague said it was crucial for the Boilermakers to break their losing streak.
“We needed that bad,” he said. “When the losses pile up, the next win becomes more important.”