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Purdue Edges NC State 66-61 In ACC-Big Ten Challenge

Stan Jastrzebski

When Purdue starts Big Ten Conference play at the end of this month, there are going to be a lot more games like this.

A physical contest that got chippy in the second half went to the Boilermakers Tuesday as they held off North Carolina State in the West Lafayette matchup of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

The Boilers led by two at the half and the game tightened after that. As the lead seesawed, NC State stayed close to Purdue -- almost in-their-shoes close. Isaac Haas went to the floor after a two-handed push to the back from Kyle Washington. Jon Octeus was called for a foul while taking an elbow to the nose. Many a Wolfpack screen ended with an arm bar to the midsection of the player being screened. Amid complaints from both coaches and scraps under the hoop, Rafael Davis kept Purdue close by drawing a couple offensive foul call calls against the visitors.

As the fouls began to mount, Purdue coach Matt Painter was forced to rely on his young bench players, especially freshman backup point guard P.J. Thompson. Octeus' third foul a few minutes into the second half meant Thompson had to play the point, where he was undersized against and outrun by NC State point guard Cat Barber. But Thompson grabbed several long offensive rebounds to keep Purdue possessions alive and sank a three-pointer in transition with 4:55 to go that put Purdue up to stay.

Purdue, which came into the game shooting better than 50-percent from the floor, struggled to find its shooting touch, hitting just 22 of 56 shots (39-percent) for the game. But a big edge on the offensive glass (16 to 9) helped generate second-chance opportunities. The Boilermakers edged NC State 22-14 in second chance points, even as the Wolfpack outshot the Boilers from the field and from behind the three-point arc.

Purdue (6-1) plays North Florida at home Saturday.