The Purdue Boilermakers came into Mackey as one of the hottest teams in the country, winners of 9 of their last 10, and sitting on top of the Big Ten standings.
IU was playing host on a tail slide, losers of 10 of their last 11 games.
But rivalries don’t like to listen to records and Purdue was coming to Assembly Hall on a two-game winning streak against IU, notable because out of the 207 games played between the two schools, Purdue has never won three games in a row in Assembly Hall.
So, naturally, with two of the most storied programs in the most storied state of basketball going in opposite directions, this game came down to the very last seconds when Matt Haarms tipped in of Carsen Edwards’ 20th missed shot of the night with 3 seconds left in the game for a 48-46 win for Purdue, giving the Boilers their first three game winning streak in Assembly Hall.
It was not a night for shooting. As both teams found it nearly impossible to put the ball in the basket. Both teams missed from far, from close, and from the free throw line early in the game, with both teams combining to go 14 of 55 from the floor, 6 of 30 from the three-point line, and 6 of 14 from the free throw line.
Carsen Edwards had his worst performance as a Boilermaker, an abysmal shooting night, going 4 of 24 from the floor for just 9 points. But he was able to come up big late, when he drove to the basket and finished over Justin Smith with under a minute in regulation to take the lead back from the Hoosiers.
Romeo Langford would respond by drawing a questionable foul on Nojel Eastern and hitting his first free throw before missing his second which led to Haarms’ tip-in.
It was a game representative of a rivalry. The teams were physical, they played hard, but they never played pretty. The rock fight in the first half was met with a pebble fight in the second half where both teams left points on the board and neither one could take advantage of the other’s struggles.
Per the Purdue media guide, the 94 combined points is the fewest in the Rivalry since Indiana won 49-39 at Purdue on January 21, 1950.
For IU, they existed on Romeo Langford’s free throws (9 of 10) and De’Ron Davis’ toughness inside, but Juwan Morgan couldn’t buy a basket (3 of 14) with Grady Eifert and Matt Haarms taking turns checking IU’s senior.
For Purdue, Ryan Cline saved the day as Purdue’s only capable outside shooter, shooting 4 of 10 from the floor and 3 of 8 from three-point, absolutely lights out compared to anyone else in this contest. His 11 points were a team-high.
Carsen Edwards will want to throw this tape away. The National Player of the Year candidate had his worst shooting performance of his career, shooting 4 of 24, and didn’t make a single jump shot. He scored 9 points, by far his lowest scoring output of the year and the first time he failed to score in double-digits this year, and missed all 10 of his three-point attempts.
In a tough game, where the crowd was launching profanities at players in unison, specifically Matt Haarms, it was Purdue’s toughness that showed up away from making shots.
Nojel Eastern finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds, and forced two steals. Grady Eifert came up with a huge charge late in the game.
Where the IU crowd showed their class, shouting ‘**** you, Haarms,’ and filling his instagram with even more expletives, it was the Dutch big man playing with 4 fouls who got the final laugh.
The punch line: Purdue 48, IU 46.