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    Wildcats Stun No. 14 Purdue

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Steve Lepore grabs a rebound<BR>away from Purdue's Brian Cardinal<BR>in the first half Wednesday.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Steve Lepore grabs a rebound
    away from Purdue's Brian Cardinal
    in the first half Wednesday.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    January 27, 1999

    Box Score

    By RICK GANO
    AP Sports Writer

    EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) - Evan Eschmeyer had 17 points and 14 rebounds to become Northwestern's career rebounding leader Wednesday night as the Wildcats stunned No. 14 Purdue 54-50.

    Freshman Steve Lepore sank two free throws with three seconds left as Northwestern (12-5, 4-3 Big Ten) held on and sent the slumping Boilermakers (15-6, 3-4) to their third loss in four games.

    Purdue had won nine straight and 28 of the previous 29 games in the series.

    The 6-foot-11 Eschmeyer, a sixth-year senior who missed his first two years with foot injuries, passed Kevin Rankin as the school's career rebound leader. Rankin, who led Northwestern to the NIT in 1994, had 885 for his career, eight more than Eschmeyer entering the game.

    Three-pointers by Danny Allouche and David Newman, who also finished with 17 points, gave Northwestern a 10-point lead with four minutes left. But the Wildcats couldn't put it away.

    Alan Eldridge banked in a 3-pointer and Jaraan Cornell hit another following a block by Eschmeyer as Purdue pulled within 52-47 with 3:13 left.

    That set up a wild finish.

    After Eldridge forced a five-second call, the Boilermakers nearly had a shot-clock violation. But Cornell, who led Purdue with 15 points, grabbed teammate Mike Robinson's desperation air-ball jumper and acrobatically laid it over his head to make it 52-49 with 1:55 left.

    Northwestern turned it over but Cornell missed a jumper, Eschmeyer rebounded and then missed the free throw before fouling Eldridge on a drive with 39 second left.

    After Eldridge hit the first and missed the second, Northwestern led 52-50 and had the ball.

    Eschmeyer lost the ball at the other end, but Purdue couldn't clear and Wildcats freshman Tavaras Hardy intercepted a pass and was fouled with 20 seconds to go.

    But he also missed from the line, giving Purdue another chance.

    Following a pair of timeouts, Purdue's Brian Cardinal missed a short jumper and Lepore was fouled. He made both and seconds later students poured into the floor to celebrate.

    Northwestern led by as many as 16 in opening half and was up 32-20 at halftime. The Boilermakers, behind Cornell, then started the second half with an 11-2 run.