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No. 25 Rutgers survives Purdue's comeback attempt


EditorsNote: Added home city location in lede graf

Caleb McConnell scored 16 points and sank six free throws in the final 1:49 Tuesday night as No. 25 Rutgers held on for a 70-63 victory over Purdue to remain unbeaten at home in Piscataway, N.J.

McConnell did virtually all of his scoring from the free-throw line, hitting a career-high 12 free throws on 12 attempts after entering the game shooting 73.3 percent from the line.

Akwasi Yeboah, Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker added 10 apiece for Rutgers (16-5, 7-3 Big Ten), who shot 45.5 percent and made a season-high 25 free throws on 36 attempts.

Jahaad Proctor led Purdue (11-10, 4-6) with 19 points and Trevion Williams added 17 for the Boilermakers, who shot 41 percent.

The Scarlet Knights improved to 15-0 at home in front of their fifth straight sellout crowd. Rutgers also beat Purdue for the first time since 1975 and improved to 2-12 in the all-time series by surviving a fierce comeback attempt.

Unlike Saturday against Nebraska, when Rutgers blew a 14-point lead and won on Baker's 3-pointer with one second remaining, the Scarlet Knights took the lead about 3 1/2 minutes into the game and never trailed again, surviving despite being outscored 36-26 the rest of the game after taking a 17-point lead early in the second half.

Purdue fell to 0-5 on the road in conference games and lost for the fifth time in seven games overall.

Rutgers pushed the lead to 44-27 on three free throws by Yeboah less than two minutes into the second half, but Purdue came back with a 14-5 spurt to get within 49-41 on a jumper by Proctor with 12:13 to go.

Williams then scored 11 straight Purdue points, and the Boilermakers trailed 59-52 on his basket with 6:23 remaining.

The Scarlet Knights did not hit another field goal after Yeboah's 3-pointer made it 59-50 with 6:44 remaining, and Purdue was within 62-59 on a free throw by Evan Boudreaux with 2:08 remaining.

Purdue was within 66-63 on a basket by Eric Hunter with 19 seconds left and, after Myles Johnson intercepted Boudreaux's inbounds pass, McConnell made his final two free throws to clinch the win.

The Scarlet Knights took their first double-digit lead at 24-13 on a 3-pointer by Baker with 9:48 remaining. They ripped off a 9-0 run to take a 35-19 lead on two free throws by McConnell with 4:17 left, and led 39-27 at halftime.

--Field Level Media

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