DENVER, Colo. (March 17, 2016) – A 14 point lead. Five minutes to play. Seth Davis was already warming up his sharpie.
But Purdue crumbled down the stretch, committing four turnovers in the final 4:12 of regulation. Those mistakes, coupled with some improbable shooting by Little Rock, led to the Trojans forcing overtime, then double overtime, and finally another 12-5 NCAA Tournament upset, 85-83 in double overtime.
“We put ourselves in a great position,” said Boilers head coach Matt Painter. “We just had to be solid, and we weren’t solid in some really key times.”
In total, Purdue committed 18 turnovers in the loss, 13 of them thanks to Little Rock steals.
“Just carelessness passing the ball to each other really hurt us,” said sophomore center Isaac Haas. “Ultimately, that’s what beat us all season.”
It’s a season several players in the locker room described as “unfinished” and “incomplete” after the loss. For some, the sting was even worse.
“My time is done,” said senior Rapheal Davis. “I feel like it’s an incomplete career. Going out like this is probably one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had in my life.”
“I feel bad for our guys, especially our seniors,” said Painter. “They’re the ones that put us in this position, as a five seed. They’re the ones that put us in a position up 13 points with three-and-a-half minutes to go.
“No question, it feels incomplete.”