Purdue blows late lead, loses 66-65 to Cincinnati in OT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A handful of Purdue Boilermakers buried their heads in towels, trying to cover their tears in the locker room.
This loss will hurt for a while.
The ninth-seeded Boilermakers led by seven points with 48.5 seconds left in regulation, but Cincinnati forced overtime on a buzzer-beating layup by Troy Caupain and went on to a 66-65 victory on Thursday night in the NCAA Tournament.
“We had all the opportunities in the world, and that’s why it hurts as bad as it does because we knew we put ourself in position to win and we didn’t make the necessary plays,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “That hurts.”
Jon Octeus’ two free throws closed out an 8-0 run and gave Purdue a 56-49 lead in the final minute of regulation. But Cincinnati put together a 10-3 spurt, capped by Caupain’s tying layup that banked off the glass, rolled around and hit the glass again, staying on the back rim for a moment before falling through.
That led to a celebration for the Bearcats while officials reviewed the play to make sure Caupain beat the buzzer. Caupain crouched underneath the basket briefly to watch the ball fall, and then waited for officials to rule he beat the buzzer.
“Once it was rolling around the rim, I stopped, I bent down a little bit, I looked up, and once it fell in the rim and the buzzer went off, I just smiled,” Caupain said.
In overtime, Coreontae DeBerry scored four of his 13 points to help Cincinnati take the lead for good. Associate head coach Larry Davis praised the Bearcats for refusing to lose.
“When you’ve got a team full of guys like that who pull for each other, you’ve got a chance,” Davis said. “You’ve got a chance. I couldn’t be prouder of the group.”
Vince Edwards’ 3 hit off the rim at the buzzer for the Boilermakers (21-13). The loss snapped a 14-game winning streak for Purdue in NCAA Tournament openers that dated to 1994.
“It got a little crazy,” Purdue freshman Dakota Mathias said of the ending. “They just made a couple more plays than we did.”
The Bearcats (23-10) will play top-seeded Kentucky on Saturday in the Midwest Regional. Farad Cobb led Cincinnati with 14 points.
Cincinnati won for the sixth time in seven games and also won its NCAA opener for the first time since 2012 after Purdue failed to put away the game. When Octeus hit only one of two free throws with 7.4 seconds left, that allowed Caupain to find an open lane and drive to the basket for the tying score.
The Boilermakers last led 63-61 on a dunk by A.J. Hammons with 3:48 left. They didn’t score again until Octeus’ layup with 7 seconds left. Caupain missed a free throw, allowing Purdue one final chance that didn’t go down.
Hammons finished with 17 points, and Edwards had 14.
Purdue: The Boilermakers’ winning streak in NCAA Tournament openers had been the the fifth-longest streak in NCAA history. The streak started in 1994 with Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson and a win over UCF. Their last opening NCAA loss was in 1993 to Rhode Island. ... They outrebounded Cincinnati 50-38.
Cincinnati: This was the Bearcats’ fifth straight NCAA Tournament berth, making them one of only 11 schools with such a streak. ... They lost their opener as No. 5 seed last year and as a No. 6 seed in 2013. ... They came in sixth in the nation in scoring defense allowing 55.3 points per game. That’s the third fewest in school history, topped only by the national championship squad in 1962 and the national runner-up in 1963. ... They are 5-2 in NCAA games in Louisville all-time.
Bearcats junior forward Octavius Ellis was ejected with 17:53 left after officials reviewed a play and saw Ellis catch Hammons with an elbow to the neck. It was Ellis’ third ejection this season.