FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP)—The game appeared lost. Even Colorado State thought so.
His team trailing by four points with the final seconds ticking down, Colorado State’s Micheal Morris did the unthinkable.
Morris hit two 3-pointers in the final seven-tenths of a second, rallying the Rams to a miraculous 71-69 win over No. 21 Purdue on Tuesday night.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like that,” Purdue coach Gene Keady said.
Colorado State coach Dale Layer agreed.
“I credit our guys for hanging in there and persevering,” Layer said. “We persevered, even in the face of a certain loss.”
Colorado State (7-4) trailed 69-65 in the waning seconds before Morris hit a 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left.
The Rams’ Matt Williams then deflected Purdue’s inbounds pass, and Morris put up a desperation 3-pointer from just beyond the arc that swished at the buzzer.
“Coach said to make a steal and shoot it in one motion,” Morris said. “He said, `Anything you get, just throw it at the goal.’ I was just hoping it goes in. It’s always good to be lucky.
“Oh, man, this is an unbelievable feeling. To make a shot like that at the buzzer and with all the pandemonium with the fans, wow.”
The furious finish erased a comeback by Purdue (9-3), which trailed 56-43 with 10 minutes left but led 69-63 lead with 10 seconds to go.
Williams then hit two free throws for Colorado State with 8 seconds left.
Brandon McKnight, who scored 14 straight points for Purdue down the stretch, went to the line for two free throws with 6.9 seconds to go. He missed the first, and the second was wiped out by a lane violation, setting the stage for Morris’ heroics.
The lane violation came when Purdue coaches pulled Ivan Kartelo off the line after officials had already passed the ball to McKnight for his second free throw.
“The coaches lost this game,” Keady said. “We should have never pulled a guy off the line with McKnight shooting a free throw. It’s a tough loss, a loss that is going to test our character.”
In the closing seconds, Keady said, “we just didn’t pass the ball well. We had some young guys who need to learn how to pass the ball. But things are going to happen on the road. When you’re on the road, you’ve got to be 10 points ahead.”
Keady also doubted the Rams could have stolen a pass and gotten off a shot in less than a second, and said if the game had been televised, officials could have consulted replays.
Matt Nelson led Colorado State with 16 points, while Morris added 14 and Ronnie Clark 11.
McKnight scored 20 of his 21 points in the second half. David Teague added 15.
Colorado State used a 21-4 run to go up 32-21 in the first half en route to a 37-29 halftime lead.
Purdue’s 7-0 flurry put the Boilermakers ahead 17-11 with 11:43 left in the half, but the Boilermakers then went without a field goal for the next 10:23.
Colorado State immediately countered with nine straight points, including 3-pointers by Morris and Derrick Stevens.
Purdue cut the deficit to four points early in the second half, but the Rams pushed the lead to 13 with an 8-0 run, including six points by Nelson.
McKnight’s driving layup triggered a 16-4 flurry, and he later scored nine straight points to give Purdue a 66-61 lead with 1:33 remaining.
Purdue was without its third-leading scorer, Chris Booker, who stayed at home to clear up some academic deficiencies.