Northwestern 40, Purdue 39
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP)—Northwestern used a stingy matchup zone defense and timely shooting down the stretch to earn their second straight upset win, 40-39, over Purdue on Wednesday night.
Mohamed Hachad hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:55 left that proved to be the game winner, and the Wildcats mobbed the court after another improbable win.
Kenneth Lowe had a chance to give Purdue the lead with just under 30 seconds to play, but his 3-pointer was off the mark.
The Boilermakers had one more chance to take the lead, but Jitim Young stripped Brandon McKnight of the ball with time winding down to hand the Boilermakers their second straight loss and third in four games.
In a hard fought defensive contest, Evan Seacat scored nine points to lead Northwestern (10-11, 5-5 Big Ten), which was coming off a 69-51 thumping of then-No. 14 Wisconsin.
Northwestern coach Bill Carmody called his team’s defensive performance in the win over the Badgers their best of the season.
They were even better on Wednesday.
The Wildcats held Purdue (15-8, 5-5) to season lows in points (39) and just 34 percent shooting, overcoming a brilliant performance from Lowe.
Lowe returned after missing three games with a sprained left elbow. The team’s emotional and scoring leader played with a bulky black brace on his arm, but still scored 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
He almost single-handedly brought Purdue back from a seven-point deficit midway through the second half.
Northwestern took control with an 8-0 run to take a 32-25 lead with 11:51 to play.
Lowe responded with a jumper, a driving layup and a 3-pointer during a 9-0 run that gave the Boilermakers the lead with 5:44 to play.
T.J. Parker answered with a 3-pointer and Young added a layup before Hachad’s big shot.
Purdue coach Gene Keady was hoping the return of their unquestioned leader would give the Boilermakers an emotional spark they’d sorely lacked with him on the bench.
It did just that, but it wasn’t enough for Purdue, which was frustrated and ineffective against Northwestern’s complicated defense.
The Boilermakers struggled to find shots all game. They shot just 28 percent in the first half while Northwestern shot 41 percent, including 4-of-10 from 3-point range to take a 22-20 lead.