The Boilermakers had a disappointing season for the second year in a row, once again missing the NCAA Tournament. While the season ended with a whimper, there were still at least some worthwhile games to look back on. To not pile it on, though, I'm only going to take a look at Purdue's best games that were wins. Because the reality is there were a few games, the Michigan game comes to mind, where Purdue played some of their best basketball of the season but still ended with the loss. Anyways, let's get this list started.
3. Purdue 65 Penn State 64 (01/18/14)
The first game on this list is more for entertainment value than anything else. If I was basing the entire list on performance, the wins in Champaign or Morgantown would likely be better picks, but the ending of this game was a thrilling conclusion. I actually missed a good majority of the game because me and my best friend ended up getting junk food at our local sports bar, which was only airing the Michigan versus Wisconsin game. After eating and a quick detour to the grocery store, we watched the ending of this game before spending the rest of the night killing zombies in Resident Evil 6. Throughout the night I had kept track of the score on my phone and was more or less getting irritated because it looked like the team was about to lose to Penn State at home.
The Nittany Lions ended up taking a lead with just under five minutes on a basket by Tim Frazier and held onto that lead until the very end. Then Purdue did something it usually doesn't do and made a clutch three to tie it, followed by a Newbill turnover. Then things got silly. On an inbound under the rim big man A.J. Hammons drew an inexplicable foul to get to the charity stripe. With two attempts to seal the deal the big man converted on one and Purdue picked up the win. Hammons also found a way to score double digits on this night even though he made zero field goals.
2. Purdue 77 Minesota 74 (3 OT) (02/05/14)
Snow. Copious amounts of snow. Classes were cancelled, there was a huge snow ball fight on campus and students got in for free. And yet that was considerably less crazy than how the game panned out. A triple overtime thriller where both teams clearly didn't want to win, the Boilermakers ended up winning by three thanks to A.J. Hammons 20 points, 14 rebounds and 6 blocks in a whopping 46 minutes. Purdue managed to win even though they shot a magnificent 9 of 23 from the free throw line. Senior Terone Johnson missed all six free throws, with the number being conservative as he missed a seventh free throw that wasn't counted thanks to a lane violation.
Regulation ended about as expected, with Terone missing both free throws and Minnesota tying it right before the end of regulation on an Austin Hollins jumper. Purdue opened a slim lead in the first overtime, only to blow it thanks to a late turnover and foul setting up two tying free throws by DeAndre Mathieu with 31 seconds remaining. The second overtime ended up with a combined eight points, none being scored in the last 2:38. In the third overtime Purdue split a pair of free throws, but snagged a rebound to maintain possession. They then split another pair of free throws to open up a three point lead. In typical derp fashion, the Boilermakers got a defensive rebound in the closing seconds but Errick Peck missed both free throws. The Boilermakers fouled Minnesota with a few seconds left and Minnesota responded with a pair of misses from the line. And with that Purdue had their second to last win of the season.
1. Purdue 82 Indiana 64 (02/15/14)
Purdue was riding an unfortunate losing streak to the Hoosiers, with all of the losses also being by double digits. So this game easily takes the cake as the top game for the Boilermakers this past season. Winning by 18 was definitely impressive, though it should be noted that it was only an 18 point victory because Purdue coasted to the finish line and the Hoosiers made it look considerably closer than it actually was. The Boilermakers had terrible guard play all season long so it was definitely a weird afternoon as the Boilermakers saw solid production from their entire backcourt. Senior Sterling Carter set the tone, leading the team with 19 points thanks to going 5 of 6 from beyond the arc. Brothers Terone and Ronnie also had solid days, scoring a combined 30 points. The team managed to overcome Hammons only playing 19 minutes and ended up shooting 55.6% from three and 75.9% from the charity stripe. It was easily the only game versus actual competition where the Boilermakers played up to their potential for the duration of the game.
The summary of this game? With less than two minutes in the first half it was 31-31. With around 13 minutes to go the score blossomed to 53-35 before Purdue ended up opening up a 75-50 lead with less than five to go. The game could have been even worse for Indiana if not for a dynamic 27 point performance by Yogi Ferrell, the only person that looked alive most of the day for the Hoosiers.
So excited by destroying the Hoosiers, the Boilermakers promptly followed up their best game of the season by losing every remaining game. Fitting, but at least we knocked off the Hoosiers.