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Purdue 59, VCU 56 - Purdue holds on.

Purdue moves to the Emerald Coast Classic championship final game.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Marquette Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

When Jahaad Proctor laid in the ball to tie the game at 5-5, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. The transfer senior was leading Purdue in scoring on the reason, and Coach Painter grabbed the former Iona guard for particularly this reason, scoring buckets in tough games. But tough games is underselling the defensive battle that Purdue and VCU engaged in to start the game, the 10th total point of the game came with more than 9 minutes of game played.

But Purdue beat VCU at their own game, forcing 21 turnovers to 18, and holding a slim margin late, 59-56.

The Emerald Coast Classic has delivered two close, great games to start off the early season tournament. After Purdue let two games slip early this season in the late minutes, but they did just enough late to hold on, defeating a ranked team for the first time and getting their first marquee victory of the year.

It’s hard to point out pretty performances, but Purdue made just enough plays late to pull out of a tough, defensive battle. Eric Hunter Jr. and Jahaad Proctor led the Boilers with scoring, both scoring 12, but big man Trevion Williams was the most efficient player on the court, making all 5 of his field goal attempts for 10 points.

Neither team could make a shot most of the game. They combined for 7 three pointers on 33 attempts with Purdue knocking down 4 and VCU making 3. Both teams also shot under 70% from the free throw line.

Purdue edged VCU by six offensive rebounds. They forced 3 more turnovers, and in a game where neither team could find the basket, the extra chances were the deciding factor.

Purdue found themselves in trouble, with both big men fouling out. Matt Haarms and Williams both were hostages of an inconsistent whistle, but Evan Boudreaux had his best game of the year, despite modest stats. The senior made all 4 free throws, grabbed 5 rebounds, and played aggressive, smart defense against a VCU team that gave Purdue’s big men fits all game.

Isaiah Thompson had a big game, scoring 7 in a game where no one could find their shot.

The Boilermakers did just enough to win and advance, where they will take on Florida St. tomorrow after they edged out Tennessee in another tight game.