The Journal Gazette
Sunday, February 24, 2019 1:00 am

Purdue 75 Nebraska 72

Eifert's heroics vital for Purdue

Dwenger grad hits 2 baskets late with shot clock near zero

KENT WOLGAMOTT | Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. – Purdue's Grady Eifert headed toward the basket when he saw Carsen Edwards put up a 3-pointer and the No. 15 Boilermakers leading Nebraska by a point with two minutes left.

Flying across the lane, Eifert grabbed the partially blocked shot with a second on the shot clock and managed to get off one of his two key late shots that pushed Purdue to a 75-72 win Saturday.

“I saw it got tipped,” Eifert said. “I knew the shot clock was winding down. I knew I would be able to come down and gather myself. I just flicked it up there and it rolled. I couldn't see it after I shot it. Everyone celebrating, I could tell it went in.”

A couple of minutes earlier, Eifert, a Bishop Dwenger graduate, beat the shot clock when he slipped to the basket for an uncontested layup off an inbound pass from Ryan Cline.

“That doesn't happen unless Carsen sprints off there and makes a hard cut,” Eifert said. “Kline made a perfect pass for me to catch and go up with it right away. When it's one second on the clock, everyone's thinking Carsen's getting the ball there. We just wanted to get something at the rim.”

Nebraska coach Tim Miles could only shake his head and toss a water bottle as Eifert did his thing.

“First of all, I think you just credit Purdue and Grady Eifert,” Miles said. “Those are very good plays. Credit the victor, right? Second of all, I don't think we made a mistake. It was a scramble situation defensively. Sometimes the game breaks you.”

Matt Haarms had 17 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots for Purdue (20-7, 13-3 Big Ten), which won its second straight close road game, having beaten Indiana 48-46 on a tip-in with 3 seconds left Tuesday.

“We went to Indiana, we were fortunate, but we found a way to win,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “We came here today and we were fortunate again. We still found a way. I think that's what good teams do. To be able to hang in there, make our free throws, not turn the basketball over and outrebound them by 18, we'll take that.”

The Boilermakers' 14th win in 16 games pulled them into a brief three-way tie for first in the Big Ten with Michigan and Michigan State. The tie will be broken today when those two teams meet in Ann Arbor.

Cline's 3-pointer to end the first half gave the Boilermakers a two-point lead, and they never trailed again. Purdue made 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch and finished 23 of 26 from the line.

Glynn Watson Jr. scored a season-high 25 points and James Palmer added 15 points and a season-high eight assists for Nebraska (15-13, 5-12), which lost for the ninth time in 11 games.

Edwards and Cline had 13 points apiece.

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