Another close game. Another close finish. Another close loss. That sums up the Purdue Boilermakers season and against the Iowa Hawkeyes yesterday that trend continued.
83-76. A total of seven points separated the Boilermakers and Hawkeyes and seven made free throws in the final minute by the Hawkeyes became the decisive points.
It was a typical game by the Boilermakers. Ho-hum first half, followed by a regrouping at halftime and a big second half. But the 13-point deficit at halftime proved to be too much to overcome, once again.
A.J. Hammons had a monster game — 16 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks — but he received barely any help from the veterans in the backcourt. While freshman Kendall Stephens shot 5-of-9 for 12 points, Ronnie Johnson and Terone Johnson combined for 16 points, nine assists and eight turnovers. Compare that to the last game where they combined for 43 points and you understand where Purdue failed on Sunday.
They also had no answer for Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble who scored 21 points, dished out five assists and snagged four steals. In our preview article for this game we pointed out Marble was averaging a little over 17 points per game, but had scored 20-plus in his previous three, and Purdue needed to hold him closer to his average if they wanted to win.
The Boilermakers’ chances of earning an At-Large bid for the NCAA Tournament was destroyed long ago, but now it’s been officially buried. With no wins over the Top 25, only one remaining game against a Top 25 opponent, No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers, and virtually no chance of running the table in the Big Ten Tournament, you can consider their season done.
It was nice to see Purdue gain some steam near the end of the season, coming close to upsetting a couple teams. But it came a little too late to make a difference. They travel to Wisconsin on Saturday and then take on the Northwestern Wildcats at home on March 9 in their regular season finale. For most Purdue fans, the season can’t end soon enough.