MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- "Citizen Pain" put a hurting on Rhode Island.
Brian Cardinal, a redshirt freshman forward for Purdue, became a cult hero in West Lafayette, Ind., this winter. The local newspaper conducted a contest to come up with a nickname for the knee-padded, floor-burned banger and "Citizen Pain" won out over "Rawhide" and "The Janitor."
He's Kurt Rambis without the glasses, but the 6-foot-8 Cardinal produced on the perimeter when it counted yesterday at The Pyramid. His three-pointer with 16.7 seconds left in regulation forced overtime, which the Boilermakers dominated for an 83-76 win over Rhode Island.
Eighth-seeded Purdue earned a little respect for the Big Ten and a second-round date in the Southeast Regional with No. 1-ranked Kansas, a 78-64 winner over Jackson State. Cardinal will knock heads with an assortment of All-American types tomorrow, and he couldn't be happier.
"I'm living every kid's dream right now," Cardinal said.
How many youngsters want to dress like a mummy when they're playing basketball? Cardinal wears knee pads on both legs, an elbow pad on his right arm and an abundance of wrapping on his left arm, where he tore ligaments in late January.
Cardinal feels better than he did a year ago, when coach Gene Keady completed a three-year run atop the Big Ten. He traded a bunch of veterans for the youngest team he has had in 17 years at Purdue (18-11), and Cardinal is one of four freshmen in a seven-man rotation.
"A year ago, I was being redshirted, and I wasn't sure what my role was, or if I even was going to have one in this program," Cardinal said. "I don't mind that my role consists of getting a couple of bruises for the team. Kids these days love to dunk. From my point of view, I just try to play hard."
Purdue was 1-10 in games it trailed at halftime, and the Boilermakers were down by 14 with 1: 26 left before the break yesterday. Then Chad Austin put the clamps on Tyson Wheeler, Rhode Island's all-Atlantic 10 guard; the Boilermakers pounded the ball inside to junior center Brad Miller, who had a career-high 31 points; and Cardinal knew to take a step back behind the arc on his three-pointer that forced the overtime.
"You'd love to say that the play was all drawn up for you, but it wasn't," Cardinal said. "I don't want to say there wasn't any doubt in my mind about it going in, because there was."
Kansas 78, Jackson State 64
It was a fund-raising tour that would have made Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell proud, but Jackson State earned more than money from its killer non-conference schedule.
Coach Andy Stoglin took the Tigers of Jackson, Miss., to Arkansas, Memphis, Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State and New Mexico in November and December. Jackson State didn't win any of those games, but it picked up financial guarantees and an ability to cope with a powerhouse.
The award for Jackson State's first NCAA appearance was a first-round game against No. 1 Kansas, but the Tigers never backed down. Before sophomore forward Paul Pierce fueled a decisive 18-3 run, the Jayhawks were ahead by only 51-43, and coach Roy Williams fumed in a timeout huddle.
"I did lose it," Williams said. "We're a pretty good basketball team, but they [Jackson State] were able to hang in for a long time. They impressed me."
"I felt we weren't emotional as we usually are and needed someone to light a fire," said Pierce, who had 19 points, four blocks and three assists in the most complete performance of the day.
Trent Pulliam, a 6-8 forward, made just 25.9 percent of his three-pointers this season, but he connected on eight of 15, several of the circus variety, to keep Jackson State close.
The Tigers had no answer, however, for Kansas' inside game. Pierce and Raef LaFrentz combined to match Jackson State's rebound total, and that doesn't even take into account Scot Pollard's 19, as the Jayhawks out-boarded the Tigers, 61-27.
"They looked like the Boston Celtics of old with all their big people running the court," Stoglin said.
Pub Date: 3/14/97