With JaJuan Johnson and Chris Kramer saddled with two fouls apiece, No. 4 seed Purdue trails No. 5 seed Texas A&M 32-25 at halftime.
Kramer picked up his second foul with 12:29 left in the half and Johnson got his about two minutes later.
That had freshmen D.J. Byrd and Patrick Bade getting crucial playing time. They held up for the most part -- and kept Purdue in the game.
Johnson and Kramer popped in and out the rest of the half after picking up their second fouls but never for extended minutes. (Kramer played eight, Johnson 11.)
Byrd provided some energy and a nice spark with a tip-back basket and a three-pointer and also fought hard on defense. Bade played despite get clocked near his left eye, a blow that quickly became red and appeared to be swollen a bit.
A&M led 24-22 with about 3:40 left in the half, and then Purdue ran into some bad luck.
The Boilermakers had at least four shots in the half that the ball appeared to be in but popped out -- Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Keaton Grant and John Hart all had that happen. But A&M's Naji Hibbert made a three-pointer with about 2:20 left even though the ball rattled off both rims, bounced high up and then slipped back through the net.
Byrd made his three-pointer to pull within 30-25 with 30.8 left in the half.
After playing solid defense for 30 seconds, Dash Harris got a pass on the wing. He shot-faked a three-pointer, getting Purdue's Ryne Smith in the air, and took contact. With 0.9 second on the clock.
Harris made two free throws for the halftime margin.
Moore made 5 of 11 shots and had a team-high 11 points in 19 minutes. Byrd has seven points.
But Purdue is missing open shots again. Johnson is 0 for 6. Keaton Grant is 1 for 5, and four of those were wide-open looks.
When Kramer was in the game, the Boilermakers were pushing the ball in transition. He scored two layups off it, and that will be key again in the second half.