Purdue's Drey Mingo had 16 points as the Boilermakers knocked...

Purdue's Drey Mingo had 16 points as the Boilermakers knocked off Kansas State in a first-round matchup. (Mar. 20, 2011) Credit: AP

STORRS, Conn. -- It didn't seem to bother Purdue coach Sharon Versyp that her team had just nine points at the 7:43 mark of the first half.

"We've done that before," Versyp. "We had some good looks, we had some good shots. If we took ill-advised shots, that's when I'd be really upset. But I thought the game would come."

Everything worked out in the end for No. 9 Purdue as it rode a stellar defensive effort to a 53-45 win over eighth-seeded Kansas State in a first-round NCAA Tournament game Sunday at Gampel Pavilion.

The Boilermakers (21-11) will face No. 1 Connecticut, a 75-39 winner over No. 16 Hartford, in a second-round game Tuesday.

Purdue's defense set the tone early as Kansas State missed its first 12 shots and trailed, 25-17, at the break.

Kansas State made a run of it in the second half and led, 34-30, with 10:30 to go. But the Boilermakers answered with a 15-2 run and took a 45-36 lead on a three-pointer by Brittany Rayburn with 5:12 left.

The Wildcats got as close as 46-45 with 2:12 left, but Courtney Moses' three-point play followed by two free throws by Rayburn put Purdue up 51-45 with a minute left.

"We just knew we had to crack down on defense," said Rayburn. "We were really worried about their three-point shooting."

Kansas State (21-11) shot just 30 percent from the field, and made just six of 23 three-point attempts.

Rayburn had 21 points and Drey Mingo finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and four blocks to lead Purdue. Brittany Chambers led Kansas State with 18 points and Taelor Karr scored 14.

As for Purdue's second-round game against Connecticut on Tuesday, the Boilermakers are poised to take advantage of the opportunity.

"It'll definitely be a test for our team," said Mingo. "But it'll be fun. This is what the tournament is about and we're really excited."

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