WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Trailing Purdue by seven points with 3:11 remaining on Saturday, North Florida appeared on the verge of falling to 0-12 all-time against the Big Ten Conference, including 0-2 against Purdue.
Guard Dallas Moore and reserve forward Demarcus Daniels, however, would have none of it, helping rally the Ospreys (6-3) to a 73-70 come-from-behind victory against the Boilermakers (6-2).
Guard Jalen Nesbitt’s perfect pass to Daniels created a three-point play with 1:30 remaining, giving North Florida a 63-62 advantage, and Moore’s pressure-packed 3-pointer from the right corner with 54 seconds to go gave the Ospreys a 66-62 lead.
Moore led North Florida with 24 points, including 16 during the pivotal second half, and Daniels added 17 points and eight rebounds.
A.J. Hammons had 16 points and seven rebounds, and Isaac Haas added 14 points and six rebounds for the Boilermakers, who outrebounded the Ospreys, 50-39.
North Florida outscored Purdue 18-8 during the final 2:53.
“We just kept playing,” Moore said. “Coach told us to keep pressing on, because they were going to make runs. The whole thing we wanted to do was sustain the effort. Coach called a great play on my 3-pointer from the corner.
“In the second half, we did a better job guarding their post players,” Moore said. “Our guys just walled up, and we also did a better job rebounding in the second half. That helped us get out on the break more and get a lot of open shots. This is the biggest we win we have had in my career here.”
North Florida coach Matt Driscoll loved the way his team countered each time Purdue extended the lead.
“The one thing we always tell our guys is that 3-pointers beat you,” said Driscoll, noting that Purdue was only 4 of 19 from beyond the arc while his team was 10 of 22. “They were making twos easily in the first half, and we had to find a way to slow that down a little in the second half.
“We were down only eight points at the half despite shooting only 33 percent from the field and 3 of 9 from the free throw line. In the second half, our kids did a better job on Haas and Hammons. Our guys really fought. The one big play for Dallas, the way they were playing us, we called a play and it worked. Players make plays.”
For Purdue coach Matt Painter, it was a case of too many missed layups and missed defensive assignments.
“We were getting the ball to the rim, but we had five or six missed layups in the second half,” Painter said. “Everything that could go wrong for us in the last two minutes of the game did to wrong.
“We called a timeout to set up what we wanted to do defensively, and our guys didn’t carry out their assignment. We did not execute down the stretch,” Painter said.
Purdue fifth-year senior Jon Octeus, who had nine points and 10 rebounds, said the Boilermakers have only themselves to blame.
“It came down to making defensive stops, and we did not get them,” Octeus said. “We let that game slip away. We let one go.”
Purdue had won three in a row and lost for the first time this season at Mackey Arena.
A 3-pointer from Beau Beech pulled the Ospreys to within 40-37 with 16:36 remaining, but a 3-pointer from Purdue’s Kendall Stephens, two free throws from Stephens and interior baskets from Haas and then Hammons helped the Boilermakers re-establish a 52-43 lead with 10:42 left.
Two more Stephens free throws with 8:48 to go gave Purdue a 54-46 advantage. He finished with 10 points.
Purdue failed to score during the game’s first 4:19, and North Florida used a pair of 3-pointers to seize an early 6-0 lead before Haas scored 12 points from the 15:41 mark to 12:08 of the first half, helping push the Boilermakers into a 15-10 advantage.
During the first half, Haas and Hammons combined to make 10 of 16 field goal attempts and score 22 points to go with six rebounds and two blocks. The centers played 18 combined minutes before halftime.
Purdue’s 36-28 halftime lead could have been more substantial had the Boilermakers not been guilty of 11 turnovers during the opening 20 minutes. Those 11 turnovers led to 12 North Florida points.
The Boilermakers were dominant in the paint, outscoring the Ospreys 20-10 in that area during the first 20 minutes.
Daniels came off the bench for 12 first-half points to lead North Florida.
North Florida: The Ospreys are 1-1 this season against Big Ten opponents, losing 69-67 at Northwestern … While North Florida is 4-0 in home or neutral-site games, it is 2-3 on an opponent’s court … The Ospreys entered Saturday’s game having attempted 181 shots from 3-point range in eight contests. They now are 75 of 203 on the season.
Purdue: Purdue now is 8-2 all-time against members of the Atlantic Sun Conference … The Boilermakers had won 12 consecutive non-conference home games … After sitting out Tuesday’s North Carolina State game with an ankle sprain, sophomore point guard Bryson Scott returned to action Saturday, entering the game at the first half’s 14:38 mark.
Moore’s 3-pointer from the right corner — his fifth make in eight attempts against the Boilermakers — gave North Florida a 66-62 lead with only 54 seconds to play and essentially sealed the victory.
North Florida made 10 3-pointers — six more than Purdue — and outscored the Boilermakers 13-8 from the free throw line, helping compensate for being out rebounded 50-39 … Purdue had 24 offensive rebounds but scored only 16 second chance points … The Boilermakers shot only 31 percent from the field in the second half (13 of 42), including 2 of 15 from beyond the arc.
North Florida plays host to Tennessee Tech on Dec. 15
Purdue will play host to Indiana-Purdue/Fort Wayne on Monday night