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Updated: Sunday, December 21, 2003 1:11 AM EST
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(17) Purdue 80, Ipfw 69

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (Ticker) -- With little production from its starters, Purdue relied on its bench to continue its success in the Boilermaker Invitational.

Matt Kiefer scored a career-high 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting and fellow reserve Chris Booker added 18 as the 17th-ranked Boilermakers pulled away late for an 80-69 victory over Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne.

Purdue only held a 35-34 lead at the intermission before steadily pulling away in the second half. Booker's dunk capped a 15-0 spurt the gave the Boilermakers a 72-52 cushion with seven minutes remaining. Fort Wayne went more than six minutes without a field goal during the drought.

"The game went about like our week did," Purdue coach Gene Keady said. "We weren't really focused. IPFW was ready and (David) Simon is a handful. He could play for anybody."

Purdue improved to 8-1, matching its best start since the 1998-99 campaign. The Boilermakers, who are 24-1 all-time in their own tournament, will take on Southern Methodist in Sunday's championship game. Purdue's lone loss in this tournament came against Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1991.

Simon scored 19 points for Fort Wayne (2-7), which had won its previous two games against Bowling Green and Morehead State. The Mastodons suffered a blow when Simon picked up his fourth foul with 10 minutes left.

"We got into some foul trouble early and I looked out there and saw four freshmen and about had a heart attack," Fort Wayne coach Doug Noll said. "We didn't play well in the zone. That's when Purdue dialed it up, and we lost composure for about four minutes. That was the difference in the game."

Facing the Boilermakers for the first time, the Mastodons kept it close by shooting 50 percent (11-of-22) from the field in the first half and improved to 62 percent (13-of-21) in the second.

"We played a lot of defense on the back our heels," Keady said.

However, Fort Wayne struggled against Purdue's pressure as the Boilermakers converted 18 turnovers into 30 points. Purdue also outscored the Mastodons 40-22 in the paint.

Terry Collins scored 12 points and Keion Henderson added 10 for Fort Wayne, which allowed Kiefer and Booker (7-of-12) to shoot a combined 16-of-22.

"I've seen too much of (Kiefer) after tonight," Noll said. "Hopefully, Purdue can thank us for jump-starting him for the Big Ten."

Kiefer came into the game averaging just 5.5 points in 19 minutes per game.

"Our big kids have not played well in putting back shots," Keady said. "Certainly, Kiefer is playing like we thought he would and that's good to see. He hadn't play well leading up to this game and they (Fort Wayne) weren't ready to match up with him."

Purdue guard Kenneth Lowe was held to four points after suffering a right ankle injury late in the first half. Lowe returned in the second half but was hampered by a limp.

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