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Red Storm Blows 18-Point Lead

Jaraan Cornell's 20-foot jumper with 1.7 seconds left capped a furious Purdue comeback and gave the No. 14 Boilermakers a 70-69 victory over No. 23 St. John's in Friday night's consolation game of the Preseason NIT.

The Red Storm used hot shooting by Ron Artest and Bootsie Thornton to build an 18-point lead as Purdue shot poorly and did not take care of the basketball.

But then Tony Mayfield, Alan Eldridge and Cornell hit three straight 3-pointers at the start of the second half as Purdue began to find the range.

St. John's still had a 16-point lead at 56-40 when Greg McQuay got Purdue (5-1) rolling. The Boilermakers went on a 16-2 run that cut the lead to 58-56. McQuay had five of his 19 points in the spurt and Cornell hit another 3-pointer.

St. John's (3-2) rebuilt the lead to 67-61 before a basket and two more free throws by McQuay made it a two-point game.

Now rattled, St. John's committed a 45-second time clock violation, turning the ball over with 1:18 to play. But Brian Cardinal lost the ball for Purdue and Lavor Postell's basket gave the Red Storm a four-point lead with 20.3 seconds remaining.

Eldridge's third 3-pointer of the half narrowed it to 69-68 and after Thornton missed a free throw, Purdue had one last chance. Cornell took advantage by hitting the winning shot from the left side.

St. John's last-gasp shot by Artest missed the mark and Purdue had a win in a game that looked hopeless, especially after the Boilermakers fell behind 41-25 at halftime.

Artest led St. John's with 20 points and Thornton had 18. Mike Robinson scored 19 for Purdue.

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