This team has a way of keeping things interesting.
Twice in the second half, I thought the Hoosier were toast. Down five and looking out of sync with 8:42, all it took was Devan Dumes and Jordan Hulls threes with a Verdell Jones jumper in between, and all of a sudden the Hoosiers were up three.
Then, down six with just over a minute to play — when things really seemed to be over — there was Mr. Clutch VJ3 popping in a three. Add in a lockdown man-to-man defensive set by the Hoosiers, and Jordan Hulls chasing down the rebound in the corner after a Purdue miss, and suddenly the Hoosiers held their fate in their hands.
Oh, and lest you thought it was over after Chris Kramer came up with that huge block on on VJ3 — and it was a pretty clean block, in my eyes — and Robbie Hummel, one of the best free throw shooters in the land nailed two shots to put Purdue up five, there was VJ3 with another three. And there was Hummel at the line again — the best free-throw shooter in the Big Ten, mind you — missing the front end of his two free throws, setting up one last chance for VJ3 to play the hero’s role.
He got a good look. But it just missed to the left side of the rim. Another heartbreaker. Another one where these Hoosiers came within a fraction of a terrific win.
So it goes this season.
Or something like that. These images just popped into our inbox. Make of them what you will. (Matt Painter, by the way, was not asked about this in his postgame press conference.)
Bloomington, Ind. — Assembly Hall reached perhaps its highest decibel level of the season at the 5:44 mark of the second half. The Hoosiers had just taken a 69-66 lead over Purdue on a Jordan Hulls 3-pointer.
Indiana had scored eight straight points. Matt Painter called for a timeout.
But what happened after that point will be incredibly tough for this Indiana team to swallow.
Indiana missed the front end of three one-and-ones. And the No. 8 Boilermakers, led by Robbie Hummel, played like a veteran team coming together at the right time in a 78-75 win, their fifth straight.
Verdell Jones scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Hoosiers (9-12, 3-6 Big Ten) and Tom Pritchard added 13 points and five rebounds.
For now, I’m headed to the media room to listen to Matt Painter and Tom Crean address the media. Ryan will chime in with The Minute After soon and I’ll have some postgame audio and video later.