At one point this Sunday it looked like a realistic possibility that the Purdue Boilermakers would be set to take on the Michigan State Spartans, creating what would have been an ideal matchup for the Boilers. While that was a possibility, Kansas ran away with the win in the second half and will now square off against Purdue in the Sweet 16.
Throughout the history of each program Purdue and Kansas haven’t crossed paths very often, with Kansas currently leading the series by a 3-2 margin. That of course includes a split home and home series that took place in 1948 and 1950, with the two teams going over 40 years without facing each other until the NCAA Tournament.
Purdue - Kansas Series History
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If you’ve noticed, the last three times these two programs have squared off have all came in the NCAA Tournament, with many Purdue fans likely familiar with the last outing against the Jayhawks.
Purdue Boilermakers 83, Kansas Jayhawks 78 (March 24th, 1994)
In what was probably not the best of ideas, Kansas head coach Roy Williams commented heading into the two teams Sweet 16 matchup that a one-man team doesn’t win basketball games. He wasn’t wrong, technically, but future NBA All-Star Glenn Robinson did his best to prove him otherwise.
Robinson, who would go on to be the top pick in the NBA Draft later on in the summer, went absolutely off against the Jayhawks and scorched Kansas for an impressive 44 points. He wasn’t the only Boilermakers to have a huge day, though, with Cuonzo Martin also having a career day. While Robinson’s 44 points was the flashier stat line, Martin hit eight three pointers and added 29 points.
While Williams and the Jayhawks weren’t beat by a “one-man team,” they were effectively downed by a two man squad as Robinson and Martin combined for 73 of the 83 points Purdue scored in their Sweet 16 victory.
Purdue Boilermakers 61, Kansas Jayhawks 76 (March 15th, 1997)
In 1997 the Boilermakers squared off against Kansas in the second round after they managed to win in overtime against Rhode Island in the first round. This Kansas team was no slouch, as they had only lost one game in the regular season (a two point double overtime defeat at Missouri). Entering the game Kansas was riding a 33-1 record while Purdue was a much more middling 18-11.
While Purdue had gotten the best of Kansas three years prior, Kansas took a 10 point lead into the break and would go on to win by 14. That wasn’t a huge surprise considering this Kansas team was loaded with future NBA players. And while I wouldn’t blame you for not being familiar with guys like Raef LaFrentz and Scot Pollard (somehow I actually remember both of these guys), the Boilermakers had their hands full with future NBA great Paul Pierce. Pierce would go on to lead the Jayhawks with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Purdue Boilermakers 60, Kansas Jayhawks 63 (March 18th, 2012)
The game that Purdue fans definitely remember, Purdue and Kansas most recently squared off in the second (er, ‘third’ round) of the NCAA Tournament back in 2012. Purdue, a 10 seed, was a considerable underdog against the 2 seeded Kansas. This of course was Robbie Hummel’s final season in West Lafayette, with his senior year being delayed due to an unfortunate knee injury that we try not to speak of.
In a game that people assumed would be relatively easy for Kansas, the Boilers came out swinging. Purdue ran out the gates to a 19-8 lead in the first nine minutes and would keep Kansas at bay throughout a majority of the game. While Purdue held the lead until the closing seconds, the Jayhawks ability to answer and keep the game within reach was what ultimately helped them rally at the end of regulation.
Purdue’s offense fell off late, only being able to score eight points over the last 7:42 of regulation. The Boilers slim one point lead came to a end after an untimely Lewis Jackson turnover led to a Elijah Johnson layup with 24 seconds remaining. Senior Robbie Hummel couldn’t hit a late three and Ryne Smith’s desperation heave at the buzzer just missed, allowing Kansas to survive and advance.