Late in tonight’s game Purdue had a five point lead with the basketball. There were less than two and a half minutes remaining, but the Boilers picked the absolute worst time to have a bout of the butterfingers:
- Aaron Wheeler turned it over by failing to catch a pass, causing it to dribble out of bounds.
- Matt Haarms turned it over at the basket.
- Eric Hunter Jr. turned it over by also failing to catch a pass.
Those three turnovers were huge as part of a 9-0 Texas run that gave the Longhorns a rare victory in Mackey Arena. Matt Coleman III had a great slash and kick game, finishing with 20 points and 7 assists. Gerald Liddell hit a long two, but a three from Jase Febres gave the Longhorns a 64-62 lead with 1:25 left. Texas was then 6 of 6 from the line down the stretch to salt the game away.
This is a tough one. Texas thrived on the same drive and kick game that Shaka Smart used in 2011 to beat Purdue with VCU in the NCAA Tournament. Even then, most of the mistakes down the stretch were unforced errors. Hunter gave Purdue the lead with a late three before Haarms scored and Hunter added two free throws, but like most of the night, Purdue could not sustain the run.
It didn’t help that Purdue shot only 41% from the floor and missed a ton of shots right at the basket. Twice Purdue was denied at the rim and Texas turned it into a transition three. It seemed like whenever Purdue had a chance to get into a rhythm with the crowd behind it something would happen like a silly turnover or a missed shot within 3 feet.
Texas was also sloppy with 16 turnovers, but it shot 53% from the field and was 9 of 22 from three, hitting seemingly every big open look it got. Even worse, Purdue seemed to lose in the exact same manner it lost to the Longhorns last year: with unforced errors.
It does not get any easier for Purdue as it travels to Marquette, another fringe top 25 team, on Wednesday night for the Gavitt Games.