No. 9 Purdue 78, Valparaiso 70
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) _ Carson Cunningham scored 18 points, including 12 in a row in the second half to help No. 9 Purdue beat Valparaiso 78-70 Friday in the opening round of the Boilermaker Invitational.
Alan Eldridge finished with 14 points and Greg McQuay added 13 points for the Boilermakers (9-1). Lubos Barton led the Crusaders (8-2) with 16 points before fouling out with 1:07 remaining.
Valparaiso also had double-digit scoring from Zoran Viskovic with 14 points, Marko Punda with 12 and Ivan Vujic with 10.
Cunningham’s 12 consecutive points in the second half allowed Purdue to build a 53-47 lead to 65-49 with 8:14 remaining.
Mike Robinson, who finished with 12 points, hit two free throws with 7:41 left that gave the Boilermakers their largest lead at 67-49.
Cunningham’s 3-pointer made it 56-47 with 10:11 left.
After two free throws with 9:26 remaining, he converted Greg McQuay’s steal into two free throws and then had consecutive steals himself that led to a three-point play with 8:19 remaining to make it 63-49. His layup with 8:14 left gave Purdue a 65-49 lead.
Valparaiso got no closer than eight point thereafter.
Purdue plays LaSalle, a 67-59 winner over Eastern Washington, in Saturday’s championship game.