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2015 Crossroads Classic: Butler 74, Purdue 68

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Once again, Purdue falls in the Crossroads Classic.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Five Crossroads Classics, five Purdue losses.

In the event designed as a showcase for the state's top programs Purdue entered with its highest ranking to date. They had a large advantage in the post against Butler, but it didn't matter. For the first time this season Purdue's offense was plagued with a cold stretch that has been its bane far too many times in recent seasons. The Bulldogs took advantage. After an A.J. Hammons dunk seemed to give Purdue momentum at 36-33 the Bulldogs went on a 17-4 run to go ahead by as much as 16.

Yes, the first half was bad in the final 12 minutes, but that 17-4 run was the worst stretch of basketball Purdue has played all season. They were getting out-hustled on the offensive glass, they turned the ball over, they couldn't shoot, and they couldn't get stops. It was an ugly, ugly stretch that came at the worst time as Purdue finally played against a ranked team.

Even through all that, Purdue had the basketball with a chance to tie thanks to a furious late comeback. After P.J. Thompson nearly turned the ball over Kendall Stephens cut it to two at 70-68 with about 25 seconds left, but he missed the second and Butler sealed it at the line and with a breakaway basket. The comeback was spurred by a pair of big threes from Caleb Swanigan, who had yet another double-double, but added seven crucial turnovers.

Butler made plays in this one, however, Roosevelt Jones played extremely well, especially on the offensive glass, in a game where Kellen Dunham and Kelan Martin were largely absent. Butler also did a great job of denying Purdue from getting the basketball inside. Isaac Haas and Hammons were virtual no-shows offensively for much of the game.

Butler is a good team, and Purdue picked a hell of a time to play its worst basketball of the season. I give a lot of credit to Butler because they played hard the entire day and took it right to the Boilers. After about the 12 minute stretch of the first half Purdue did not look the same.

So, it sucks, but this is far from a bad loss. Purdue has a chance to right the ship on Tuesday night when a ranked Vanderbilt comes to Mackey Arena. Before the season started most people would have taken 12-1 coming out of the non-conference season. Purdue still has three very good wins in New Mexico, Florida, and Pittsburgh with a shot at a fourth on Tuesday. This doesn't affect the Big Ten race and it won't affect Purdue's ranking too much. As long as Purdue learns from this, it can still have a very special season.

So chalk it up to a bad day. Chalk it up to being cursed at the Crossroads. Chalk it up to Indiana fans hustling to put on Butler shirts. It was highly unlikely that Purdue was going to go 40-0 anyway, so just start the new winning streak on Tuesday.