Purdue coach Gene Keady called it an attitude adjustment. Whatever it was he did with his team, it worked and the Boilermakers, who stumbled into the NCAA tournament, are in the regional semifinals for the second year in a row.
"Twenty, 21 days ago we had an attitude adjustment, kind of got refocused," Keady said Sunday after 10th-seeded Purdue beat second-seeded Miami 73-63 in the second round of the East Regional. "We got things back to playing hard and doing what we practice. That changed it and turned it around."
The Boilermakers, who lost five of six games to close the regular season and waited anxiously to see their name on Selection Sunday, took control against the Hurricanes by closing the first half with a 15-0 run for a 32-17 lead.
Miami finally started hitting some shots and was within 43-38 with 11:05 left, but the Boilermakers went on a 13-2 run to match their biggest lead, 56-40, with 6:21 left.
"Coach always tells about new seasons," said forward Brian Cardinal, who led the Boilermakers with 20 points. "We're making the best of this one and are 2-0."
Purdue (21-12) will play sixth-seeded Temple, which beat third-seeded Cincinnati 64-54, on Friday at East Rutherford, N.J. The Boilermakers, who beat seventh-seeded Texas in the first round, lost in the round of 16 last year to Stanford. The other regional semifinal will have top-seeded Duke against No. 12 Southwest Missouri State.
"It's going to be a lot of fun in New Jersey," Keady said.
Miami's loss at the FleetCenter left Maryland as the only No. 2 seed still alive in the tournament after two rounds.
Tim James had 19 to lead Mimi (23-7), which had entered the tournament having won nine of 10 games. Its opening-round win over 15th-seeded Lafayette was the first NCAA win in the school's third appearance.
"Our goal was to come here and prove we could play with the best teams from across the nation," James said. "Today we stepped up and stumbled."
Purdue's solid defense and Miami's worst half of the season combined for the Boilermakers' big halftime lead.
The Hurricanes' previous low half had been 21 points, but they rallied to beat Rutgers in that game. Miami was 6-for-33 (18.2 percent) in the opening half against Purdue and it didn't score for the final 7:23, missing nine shots and turning the ball over five times in that span.
| Miami's Kevin Houston beats Brian Cardinal to the ball, but Purdue wins the game. (AP)|
"That was something that we came up with nine shutouts in a row," Keady said, referring to the Hurricanes' failure to score.
Purdue's closing run featured three 3-pointers, two by Cardinal, including one from the head of the key with three seconds left as the 35-second shot clock ran out.
"My teammates created those 3-point shots for me by driving," Cardinal said. "We just try and do the things ballclubs need to get done to win."
When Miami closed within 43-38 with 11:05 to play, Cardinal started the 15-2 run with another 3 and a layup after a steal, and reserve Mike Robinson added six more points in the burst. The 16-point deficit matched Miami's largest of the season and the closest the Hurricanes got the rest of the way was eight points.
"In the second half we played somewhat closer to the style of defense we are used to," Miami coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We got within five points but then made four or five bad decisions and couldn't get over the hump. Purdue had something to do with that."
Purdue shot 57.9 percent (22-for-38), its second best game of the season from the field.
Miami shot 32.9 percent (25-for-76), their worst outing of the season, and even Johnny Hemsley, who was 9-for-12 from 3-point range and had 31 points in the opening round, finished 5-for-13 and had 13 points against Purdue.
"I just wanted to make sure I was there every time he caught the ball and made it tough looks for him." said Purdue's Alan Eldridge, who spent most of the time covering Hemsley.
"They put Eldridge or whoever was in the game at the time on me and told them not to let me touch the ball," Hemsley said. "That's what defensive teams are for for shooters like myself."
Miami finished with a 45-29 rebound advantage but was outscored 24-12 at the free throw line.
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