Saturday's Big Ten: No. 8 Purdue rallies past Indiana to end 2-game skid

By Michael Marot
Associated Press

West Lafayette, Ind. — Purdue’s seniors celebrated one final time on their home court Saturday.

It was the next best thing to a Big Ten regular-season title — a victory over archrival Indiana.

Purdue guard Eric Hunter Jr. (2) celebrates after the team's defeat of Indiana.

Eric Hunter Jr. had 17 points, Trevion Williams made the tying basket with less than six minutes left and Sasha Stefanovic hit the go-ahead 3-pointer as the eighth-ranked Boilermakers rallied past Indiana 69-67.

“Against IU, there’s always a little different energy in here, but it was awesome,” Stefanovic said. “I can’t really think of a better way to go out of here in Mackey with that crowd and that result.”

Stefanovic finished with 15 points, including three 3-pointers. Hunter added five points, five rebounds and made three 3s, and Williams had eight points and eight rebounds.

All three have announced they will not return next season, and they went out in style. The Boilermakers (25-6, 14-6) snapped a season-long two-game losing streak and gave coach Matt Painter a victory in his 600th career game as a head coach.

No, this one didn’t follow the script, and at times things got ugly, testy and perilous for Purdue. After trailing 56-52 with 5:42 to go, the upperclassmen delivered with a 7-0 run that kept the Boilermakers in front the rest of the game.

“All three made big plays,” Painter said. “Trevion, Eric and Sasha all really came through for us.”

Xavier Johnson led the Hoosiers with 18 points and a career-high 12 assists, but his half-court heave to win it with 0.3 seconds left was an air ball. Trayce Jackson-Davis had 15 points and six rebounds while Miller Kopp scored 14 points for Indiana (18-12, 9-11).

The Hoosiers have blown late leads in each of their last two games and have lost seven of nine overall.

Indiana got as close as one over the final stretch and had a couple of chances to tie it or take the lead.

But Kopp blew one by turning the ball over on an errant inbound pass with 11.5 seconds left. After Williams missed two free throws with 6.3 seconds remaining, Johnson’s desperation heave landed out of bounds with 0.3 seconds left.

“Miller made a bad pass,” coach Mike Woodson said. “We’ve completed that pass and there have been times on that play he has made a great play.”