WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Eric Hunter Jr. scored 17 points and Sasha Stefanovic added 15 to help No. 8 Purdue rally past archrival Indiana 69-67 on Saturday.
Zach Edey added 10 points and 11 rebounds as the Boilermakers (25-6, 14-6 Big Ten) snapped a season-high two-game losing streak.
Xavier Johnson led the Hoosiers with 18 points and a career-high 12 assists, but his half-court heave to win it with 0.3 seconds left was an air ball. Trayce Jackson-Davis had 15 points and six rebounds while Miller Kopp scored 14 points for Indiana (18-12, 9-11).
The Hoosiers have lost seven of nine and four straight at Mackey Arena dating to February 2016.
It looked like this lopsided series might add a new twist when Indiana took a 56-52 lead with 6:52 to go.
Instead, the Boilermakers scored seven straight — tying it on Trevion Williams’ 4-footer and taking the lead for good on Stefanovic’s 3-pointer with 5:10 to play.
Indiana got within one and had a couple of chances to force overtime or take the lead.
Kopp blew one by turning the ball over on a bad inbound pass with 11.5 seconds left. And after Williams missed two feet throws with 6.3 seconds remaining, Johnson’s early desperation shot allowed Purdue to run out the clock with a successful inbound pass.
Indiana: All season, the Hoosiers have been on the cusp of big wins. But aside from home wins over Ohio State and Purdue, the Hoosiers have generally fallen short. Too many close losses, like Saturday’s, have left Indiana dancing on the edge of making or missing the NCAA Tournament, and a win or two at next week’s conference tournament would certainly help.
Purdue: The Boilermakers missed out on the league’s regular-season title, but Purdue still hit some major milestones Saturday. The program reached 25 wins for the 15th time and is 101-11 in its last 112 home games. Purdue also regained some momentum as its seeks bigger goals in March and April.
Last week, Purdue tied the school record by appearing in the top 10 for the 17th consecutive week. Tuesday’s loss at No. 10 Wisconsin threatened to keep the Boilermakers from breaking that mark this week. Saturday’s victory may be enough to send them past the 1986-87 team that spent the entire season ranked among the nation’s 10 best teams.
The rivalry always brings out some special guests. Saturday was no surprise. Former Purdue coach Gene Keady drew the loudest cheers when he was shown on the video board. Former Vice President Mike Pence and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb received a mixture of cheers and boos when they were shown. Former Boilermakers player Ryan Cline received a rousing ovation as fans watched him chug a beer.
Indiana: Faces an undetermined opponent Thursday in the conference tourney at Indianapolis.
Purdue: Must wait for the league tourney bracket release to determine who they’ll play Friday.
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