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Purdue 61, Northwestern 58: Sasha Saves the Season, Again.

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Stay. Alive.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

THE FOLLOWING WAS WRITTEN WHEN PURDUE TRAILED 58-50 AT THE LAST MEDIA TIMEOUT WITH 2:49 LEFT:

At least we have an early answer: Purdue will not make the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and the year has been an absolute disaster as a result. We had some early indications of it, such as blowing the Texas game when we had the ball, up 5, with less than 3 minutes left and could not take advantage of winning time at Mackey Arena. The horrified silence as that game ended was a loud statement about this team.

Tonight was merely the final nail in the coffin.

In a year that has the most balanced Big Ten maybe ever you cannot lose multiple games to the two teams, Northwestern and Nebraska, that have absolutely no chance of making the NCAA Tournament. You just can’t. Now, no matter what happens, Purdue will be 1-2 against those two teams.

There is no need for further analysis about tonight’s game aside from that. Purdue was handed two chances for “easy” road wins in conference play.

It failed miserably at both.

We’ll win a few games at home the rest of the way, but if you can’t win against Northwestern or Nebraska on the road winning anywhere else in the league probably is not going to happen.

It is just astounding how inconsistent this team can be this year.

NOW BEGINS THE REAL GAME WRAP.

Wow...

This hardly instills confidence, but lets face it: down 8 with three minutes left to the worst team in the conference is probably the darkest place this program has been in since the end of the 2014 season, when we closed the year with 7 straight losses and Jay Simpson came close to dying on the court at Nebraska.

Thanks to the ineptitude of Northwestern, we got to experience what Texas did in Mackey back in November. In the final three minutes Purdue closed on an 11-0 run and absolutely stole a road win it needed to stay alive. It did so thusly:

2:54: Northwestern turnover

2:49: Trevion Williams 1 of 2 from the line

2:23: Robbie Beran missed three

2:15: Eric Hunter Jr. layup

1:46: Pat Spencer turnover

1:37: Hunter basket

1:15: Beran missed three

0:53: Jahaad Proctor three to tie

0:29: Ryan Young turnover

0:04: Sasha Stefanovic long three for the win

I don’t know why Purdue didn’t foul on the inbounds pass, but Northwestern was kind enough to airball their last three.

I don’t know what else to say. Purdue pulled this victory from so deep inside its collective colon it was scraping teeth, but winning is winning. The season is still alive and we have to hope that somehow this is a spark. We at least have a road win in league play.

Now we get our most hated rival at home.