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December 16, 2006
No. 18 Butler hangs on, edges Purdue, 68-65
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INDIANAPOLIS - A.J. Graves, who had blurred vision after being poked in the eye in Butler's last game, scored 25 points Saturday and the 18th-ranked Bulldogs took the lead in the final minute for a 68-65 victory over Purdue.
Brandon Crone's driving layup and free throw gave Butler (11-1) a 66-64 lead with 59 seconds left. Mike Green of the Bulldogs hit two free throws around one by Purdue in the final 27 seconds, and a desperation 3-pointer by Purdue's Tarrance Crump was off the mark just ahead of the buzzer.
Graves was limited to 14 points because of the eye injury in Butler's first loss of the season a week earlier at Indiana State. But he hit four 3-pointers and finished 8-of-14 overall against the Boilermakers (8-2).
Green added 18 points for the Bulldogs in the Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Purdue, trying for its seventh straight victory, got career highs of 20 points from Gordon Watt and 12 points from freshman Chris Kramer. Leading scorer Carl Landry also had 12 points, eight on free throws.
Purdue's last lead was 64-63 on a dunk by Landry. Crone, who missed his first nine shots and was just 2-of-13 for the game, then drove to the basket, was fouled and hit the free throw to give the Bulldogs the lead for good.
A layup and then a 3-pointer by Julian Betko gave Butler its biggest lead, 24-16. The Bulldogs managed only one more field goal the rest of the half, but stayed in front from the free throw line and were up 35-33 at halftime.
Watt, a sophomore whose previous high was 14 points last month against Oklahoma, had 12 in the first half, including eight of Purdue's first 11 as the Boilermakers took an early 6-point lead. But Butler overcame poor shooting and the Boilermakers' rebounding advantage by forcing repeated turnovers that the Bulldogs turned into baskets.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Green and Graves tied the game for the first time at 11. After an error by Landry, Willie Veasley gave Butler its first lead, then Green hit another 3-pointer to complete an 11-0 run.
Landry, the Big Ten player of the week the past three weeks, missed his only field goal attempt and had four of Purdue's 12 first-half turnovers.
Along with wins over Notre Dame and Indiana - also at Conseco Fieldhouse in the NIT Season Tip-Off - the victory over Purdue gave Butler its first sweep of Indiana's ``Big 3'' teams since 1948-49.
For more coverage of the Purdue Boilermakers, check out GoldandBlack.com.