The Purdue Boilermakers saw their season end in dramatic fashion Thursday night against the Midwest's 8 seed Cincinnati in the round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament. Purdue received an at-large bid into the tournament after a surprisingly successful season despite being predicted to finish seventh in this season's Big Ten preseason rankings.
The Boilermakers watched a 7 point lead slip away with 48 seconds remaining after Kevin Johnson knocked down a three, then a Vince Edwards turnover led to a layup plus a foul on Hammons on the other end for the Bearcats and the lead was cut to just 1. Both teams would exchange 2 points, and led to Jon Octeus being fouled. Purdue was up 1 with 2 free throws to shoot and just 7 seconds left on the clock. Octeus would split the pair and Cincinnati's Troy Caupain drove to the basket and made a contested layup over Edwards hand at the buzzer to force the game into Overtime. In Overtime the Bearcats would get out ahead and secured the win to move on to the next round after Edwards was unable to connect on a game winning three point attempt at the buzzer 66-65.
What We Learned:
Free Throws Win Games:
Purdue missed 4 free throws in the final minute of regulation and overtime all of which would have kept the Boilermakers ahead in the game and possibly alive in the tournament. Rapheal Davis and Octeus both missed two during this stretch. Purdue shot 9-15 from the charity stripe Thursday night for 60 percent, 8.5 percent below their season average of 68.5 percent on the season.
Some nights aren't shooting nights:
Everyone has a bad night shooting once in a while, even the best shooters in the world aren't able to hit 50 percent from deep every night out on the court. But Purdue didn't just have one guy with a bad night shooting, the whole team struggled to hit the three ball. The Boilermakers shot a combined 4-26 from behind the arc, which is 15.4 percent well below their season average of 33.5 percent. Purdue was also baited into shooting from the outside as the Bearcats game plan was to pack the inside down near Hammons and force Purdue to hit the outside shot. The Boilermakers shot 9 more three point attempts than their season average of just 17 per game.
Although the season didn't end quite the way Purdue may have wanted it to, the future looks very promising for the Boilermakers. Jon Octeus will be the only senior graduating that played a significant amount of playing time this season. P.J. Thompson and Bryson Scott will be called upon to step up and replace the senior next season. A.J. Hammons should hopefully return for his senior season before entering the NBA the following year. Along with Hammons, Davis, Stephens, Edwards, Mathias, Smotherman, and Haas all will return with much experience. After succeeding well beyond expectations this season, I truly believe Matt Painter will have his crew in the running for the conference title next season.