Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, March 17, 2016
Purdue entered the NCAA tourney as a hot team, winners of six of seven before losing a hard-fought Big Ten title game to Michigan State.
But that mojo didn?t continue in the Big Dance, as the No. 5 Boilermakers were stunned in double-overtime by No. 12 Little Rock.
Little Rock is a well-coached team that plays tenacious defense and did a good job keeping Purdue?s big men in check. And it hit some big shots in outscoring Purdue 21-7 over the final five minutes of regulation on the way to an 85-83 double overtime win.
Just like that, the Boilers? season was over, as Purdue had no answer for Little Rock's Josh Hagins, who had 31 points.
The star: Vince Edwards. He is one of the few Boilers who came to play, tallying 24 points and 13 rebounds. The sophomore looks poised to become one of the Big Ten star players next season.
The stat: 18, turnovers for Purdue. The Boilers knew they needed to limit miscues. But, they didn?t, as Little Rock had just nine turnovers and 13 steals.
It was over when: Purdue clung to a 3-point lead in the dying moments, but Little Rock hit a monster 3-pointer to tie the game and force OT, going on an 18-5 run in the final 3:19 after it looked like Purdue was going to cruise to victory as it led 63-49 with 4:06 left. The teams battled to a stalemate in the first OT after Purdue missed a chance to win at the end. In the second, the Boilers trailed, 84-83, in the dying seconds and had the ball again with a shot to win. But Johnny Hill missed a layup with three seconds left. Game over.
What?s next: Purdue?s season is over, finishing with consecutive losses for the first time this season. This is a highly disappointing end to the season for Matt Painter, whose team had Big Ten title dreams that weren?t fulfilled and now can add a colossal flop in the Big Dance to this dreary season. Purdue will move forward next season without big man A.J. Hammons and Rapheal Davis, but the Boilers still should be good with Vince Edwards, Caleb Swanigan, Dakota Mathias and Isaac Haas back as a good corps. But it will be vital for incoming freshman Carsen Edwards to be an instant hit at point guard, a position of weakness for far too long for Painter.
Notable: Purdue has gone one-and-done in the NCAA tourney two years in a row and three of its last four appearances.
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