It appeared that Purdue was on their way to a tough fought win during their game late Sunday afternoon in Nebraska, but unfortunately an awful final few minutes turned the game into an utter disaster.
Purdue managed to completely fall apart in the game’s final few minutes and instead of looking like the number 20 team in the country, they more closely resembled a bad high school JV squad. It was so bad that it would have had the most casual of fans asking, “What the hell are they doing?” And to be completely honest, I have no good answer. Often, when a team blows a game in the final few minutes it’s because of a bad foul or turnovers, but in Purdue’s case they managed to fall apart in every aspect imaginable.
Caleb Swanigan, yes the same star player who leads the NCAA with now 18 double-doubles, played a major role in Sunday’s loss. Although he had 14 points and 14 rebounds, his 4 turnovers and multiple bad shots in the final few minutes completely erased the positive impact he had on the game.
Matt Painter’s play calling also deserves a large portion of the blame. Swanigan, who faced double-coverage the entire game, was given the ball multiple times in the final few minutes. Unlike other games when he seems to always deliver points, Swanigan either turned the ball over or missed a shot. This idiotic and irresponsible play calling was unfair to Carson Edwards and Dakota Mathis who both played a fantastic game. Mathis, who finished the game 6 of 8 from beyond the arch, seemed to be forgotten until his final shot with only seconds remaining.
Purdue shot 58.3% from 3-point range and made 92.3% of their free throws but lost the rebound game 35-40 and turned the ball over 13 times.
To the dismay of Purdue fans across the country, this loss may just put the Big 10 title out of reach as Wisconsin continues to win. The only solace that Purdue fans can take is that Purdue does control a large portion of their destiny with games against Northwestern and Maryland still to be played. However, the Boilermakers will need some help getting Wisconsin to lose.
The next game for Purdue is Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. against Northwestern at home in Mackey Arena.