Thompson, Stefanovic lead Purdue comeback, beat Valparaiso

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WEST LAFAYETTE, IN – DECEMBER 04: Purdue Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter signals to a player during the college basketball game between the Valparaiso Crusaders and the Purdue Boilermakers on December 4, 2020, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Isaiah Thompson scored eight of his 14 points in the last 5:32, Sasha Stefanovic led with 19 and Purdue rallied past stubborn Valparaiso 68-61 on Friday night after trailing for most of the game.

Zach Edey’s free throws with 6:48 remaining gave Purdue (3-1) a 54-53 lead — its first lead since 3-2 with just over two minutes gone. Thompson extended the lead to 58-53 with a free throw and a 3-pointer and made four more from the line in the last 51 seconds to secure the comeback.

Valparaiso (0-3), which hadn’t beaten Purdue since 1965, leapt out to a 34-23 halftime lead thanks to 55% shooting and deadeye 3-point shooting from Jacob Ognacevich (3-for-3) and Donovan Clay (2-for-2).

Stefanovic, who scored 16 after halftime, opened the second half with a 3-pointer and, 10 minutes later drained another 3 that cut the Valpo lead to 49-48. The Boilermakers defense toughened, dropping Valpo’s shooting percentage to 31% in the second half.

A nearly four-minute scoring drought did in the Crusaders. Ognacevich was held to three points after halftime and finished with 12. Nick Robinson scored 15.

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