ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands (AP)—Purdue coach Matt Painter said he thought the team with the ball last would win the game.
Technically, he was right: Kelsey Barlow of the sixth-ranked Boilermakers chased down Wayne Chism’s miss from the top of the key with 2 seconds left to secure a 73-72 victory over No. 9 Tennessee on Monday night in the title game of the Paradise Jam.
“That was a great college basketball game right there,” Painter said moments after the Boilermakers (4-0) stormed the court to celebrate before the capacity crowd at the University of Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center. “We were very fortunate to pull that out.”
Barlow missed two free throws with 17.6 seconds remaining to give the Volunteers (4-1) an opportunity to set up the possible game-winning shot.
Tennessee point guard Bobby Maze, who had 13 points, looked to penetrate. Painter had anticipated as much, and Purdue turned Maze away, forcing a kick-out pass to Chism at the top of the key, beyond the 3-point arc.
“That’s a shot we’ll take every time,” Maze said.
The 6-foot-9 Chism scored 24 points, hitting 8 of 13 shots from the field and going 7 of 7 from the free throw line.
The Boilermakers led 42-41 after a tightly contested first half and appeared to took charge just past the midway point of the second half.
E’Twaun Moore, who scored 22 points and was named the tournament MVP, had a steal and layup that gave Purdue a 59-58 lead with 9:06 remaining. He capped the 8-0 run with a jumper that put Purdue up 64-59 with 6:16 left.
“E’Twaun got into a nice rhythm early,” Painter said. “He made a couple of big shots, and he stayed really aggressive.”
Robbie Hummel scored 20 points for the Boilermakers, and JaJuan Johnson added 11 despite playing 18 minutes before fouling out.
“It was a physical game, but it would have been even more physical if both teams weren’t a little fatigued from playing (Sunday) night,” Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. “I thought both teams played very well, and I thought we played well enough to win.”
Joining Moore on the all-tournament team were Hummel, Chism, Tyler Smith of Tennessee, DePaul’s Will Walker and Northern Iowa’s Kwadzo Ahelegbe.