Rich Nye/Eyewitness Sports
Spokane, Wash. - For the twelfth straight time, Purdue advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament Friday. The Boilermakers got 23 points and 15 rebounds from JuJuan Johnson en route to a 72-64 first round win over Siena.
Purdue took the court at the Spokane Arena with most experts calling for an upset.
"I don't think anybody really picked us. President Obama didn't pick us, but that's all right. We used it as bulletin board material. We got a few papers that said some things knocking us yesterday, we used it as motivation today," said sophomore Ryne Smith.
Siena looked for a third straight first round win in the tournament and the 13th-seeded Saints led by three at halftime. But the Boilermakers turned the game around by scoring the first 13 points of the second half and opened the half with a 20-3 run.
"It was definitely the defensive end for us," Johnson said. "We got some stops early and that turned into easy offensive points. We were able to get out in transition in the second half and that was huge."
Senior Keaton Grant sparked the run, scoring all 11 of his points in the first five minutes of the second half. Grant played in his 100th win at Purdue, the most of any player in school history.
"Never thought that would have happened. You say 100 wins, that's a lot of wins," he said. "Especially coming as a freshman and the season they had before that, I mean, that's a lot of wins, a hundred. Think back on it, maybe it will hit me after the season."
The Boilermakers survived a 12-0 rally by Siena in the closing minutes to hang on for a 72-64 win.
"Just keep your poise. We've been there before, we've battled back before, we've also had leads," said Purdue head coach Matt Painter. "Actually, what happened today has happened a lot to us this year. Our guys have been able to keep their composure, make plays down the stretch and really, what saved us, was our defense. We were able to get stops."
Purdue will play Texas A&M Sunday. The Aggies have won their opening game of the tournament in five straight years.
Texas A&M beats Utah State 69-53
Freshman Khris Middleton scored a career-high 19 points and fifth-seeded Texas A&M beat No. 12 Utah State 69-53 on Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament's South Regional
The Aggies (24-9) advanced to the second round for the fifth consecutive year. They will face No. 4 seed Purdue on Sunday.
David Loubeau added 12 points and B.J. Holmes had 11 for Texas A&M, which disrupted Utah State into one of its worst shooting performances of the season and dominated the rebounding.
Utah State (27-8) lost its fifth consecutive first-round game. Its last win came in 2001 over Ohio State. The Aggies shot 38 percent, well below their season average of 49 percent, and scored 20 points below their season average.
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