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Too Many Mistakes For Purdue Men As They Fall To North Florida 73-70

Stan Jastrzebski

There's an old notion in close games that the team with the last shot can win. For most of Saturday's game, the outcome seemed likely to be determined by which team had a cold streak last.

So when North Florida made seven of its last nine shots and Purdue missed eight consecutive attempts in the last three minutes, the Ospreys walked away with a 73-70 victory.

"Everything that could go wrong for us in the last two minutes did," Purdue Coach Matt Painter said after the game.

It was a streaky shooting game on both sides. Purdue missed its first six shots, then came back to hit 10-of-11 shortly thereafter - just as North Florida was missing 10-of-12. Over a six-minute stretch in the middle of the second half, Purdue failed on 12-of-15 shot attempts just as the Ospreys were making six of their eight tries. 

In several games this season, the Boilermakers have taken the leads early and were able to build on the momentum. Saturday, North Florida jumped out to a 6-0 advantage and it was clear this game would be different.

Ultimately, Purdue was undone by its sloppiness as much as its inconsistency.

Against North Carolina State, Purdue only had nine turnovers. Against North Florida, the Boilermakers committed 11 in the first half alone.

"Eleven turnovers in the first half is just being careless," Painter said.

Early on, the team's young players kept the Boilermakers in the game. Freshmen Isaac Haas and Vince Edwards were responsible for the first fifteen points Purdue put on the board. 

Haas scored a third of Purdue's 36 points in the first half, seemingly going to the basket at will as he made his first six shots, including a couple slam dunks resulting from nifty moves in the post. 

But in the second half, the Boilers inexplicably went away from their size advantage inside, even as North Florida starting center Ramelo Banks fouled out with almost 14 minutes left.

Haas and Octeus said it wasn't a case of changing defensive tactics slowing down the offense that caused the Boilermakers to attempt so many outside shots in the second half.

"We came out dead and we weren't focused and that's what cost us the game," Haas said.

"Lack of communication between us, the players - we let that one go," Octeus said.

North Florida pulled ahead 63-62 with 90 seconds left in the game and went up four on its next possession when guard Dallas Moore made his fifth three-pointer of the game. Moore led all scorers with 24 points and shot 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. Demarcus Daniels also chipped in 17 for the Ospreys. A.J. Hammons led Purdue with 16.

Again, poor free throw shooting cost the Boilers. They went to the line 16 times but sank just eight of those tries, including Hammons missing the front end of a one-and-one in the last minute. Painter chided his team after the game for making silly mistakes and failing to convert on simple plays.

"We've got to make our free throws and we've got to make our lay-ups. If we do that, we win the game," Painter said.

Purdue (6-2) will play IPFW (4-2) Monday.