Purdue's senior-laden team gave young Florida a pretty good thrashing, and Gators Coach Billy Donovan turned the loss into a lesson.
The 22nd-ranked Boilermakers, with four senior starters, used balanced scoring, excellent defense and the constant hustle of Brian Cardinal to beat the sixth-ranked Gators, who have 11 freshmen and sophomores on the roster, 79-68, last night in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii.
"We played basketball the right way to play it and it's rewarding to see kids work hard and be rewarded," Purdue Coach Gene Keady said. "We played unselfish, that's the biggest thing."
The Boilermakers (2-0) will play No. 4 North Carolina, an 85-79 winner over Georgetown, in today's championship.
Donovan sat his point guards--sophomore Teddy Dupay and freshman Brett Nelson--for almost all of the second half.
"We're going to find somebody to run our basketball team and I'll go somewhere else if I have to," Donovan said, referring to quick shots and a lack of passes by the two, who combined for one assist and 15 shots. "They need to start sitting because I'm done talking."
Greg McQuay and Jaraan Cornell each had 19 points and Mike Robinson added 18 for Purdue, which beat Chaminade, 96-78, in the opening round. The Boilermakers held Florida, which squeaked by Utah State, 60-58, in the first round, to 41 percent shooting, including 3 for 17 from three-point range. The Gators were 8 for 32 from beyond the arc in the opener.
But it was Cardinal, the senior forward who unofficially leads the nation in floor burns, charges taken and hustle plays, who sparked the Boilermakers and had the sellout crowd of 2,400 at the Lahaina Civic Center cheering.
"He plays hard and I couldn't be prouder," Keady said. "He's become a great player with a nose for the ball."
Mike Miller made one free throw with 16 minutes 52 seconds to play to get the Gators within 45-39. The Boilermakers then went on a 9-0 run and the final points came on one of those plays that will be part of every weekend highlight package.
Cardinal grabbed a miss of a shot by Florida's Udonis Haslen, fell to his knees, took the ball over his head and launched a long pass that found McQuay in full stride and he took one dribble and dunked for a 54-39 lead with 13:45 left.
"That's not a regular play," Cardinal said. "It just happened."
Cardinal, who finished with 9 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists, wasn't done with his on-the-floor play. He grabbed a rebound about three minutes later and while rolling in a pile of players had the presence of mind to call a timeout. He later got off a shot as he was falling, was fouled and made the free throws for a 60-45 lead with 9:11 left.
"He's terrific," Donovan said. "He knows his role and he goes after every loose ball. He plays the game the way it should be played."
DUKE 99, COLUMBIA 52: Chris Carrawell scored 20 points and freshmen Carlos Boozer and Mike Dunleavy each had 16 as the No. 16 Blue Devils routed the Lions. The Blue Devils (2-2) won their 38th straight at home and tied an Atlantic Coast Conference record held by North Carolina State, whose streak lasted from 1971 to '74 in Reynolds Coliseum. The Blue Devils' last loss at home was to Wake Forest on Jan. 11, 1997.
OKLAHOMA ST. 93, ARK.-LITTLE ROCK 64: Desmond Mason scored eight points during a 14-0 run in the opening minutes of the second half and the No. 21 Cowboys won in North Little Rock, Ark. Mason finished with 26 points, 16 in the second half. Fredrik Jonzen added 19 for the Cowboys (3-0). The game matched Oklahoma State Coach Eddie Sutton against one of his former Arkansas greats, Sidney Moncrief, who was hired by Little Rock in March.
"It was a tough assignment having to play us," Sutton said. "We had a lot better players than they did. Where we really hurt them was our size."
UCLA 76, FAIRFIELD 57: Jason Kapono scored 16 points in his college debut as UCLA opened its season at home with a victory. The Bruins never led by more than five in the first half when they shot just 29 percent and Fairfield was hitting 40 percent.