Northwestern (10-10, 3-4 Big Ten) continued its surge in the Big Ten standings Tuesday. The Wildcats needed a pair of overtimes at Welsh-Ryan Arena, but they completed an upset of Purdue (13-6, 3-2) in a low-scoring, 63-60 affair.
“It’s not pretty, we know that, but as long as we can find a way to get the job done it doesn’t matter,” head coach Chris Collins said. “My main goal this year was to make this team a scrappy, hard-nosed team that fights.”
Northwestern grabbed a 61-55 lead entering the final minute of the second overtime, but Purdue senior Terone Johnson‘s three-pointer cut the lead in half.
After a Wildcat turnover, Johnson drew contact and made a pair of free throws to bring the Boilermakers within 61-60.
The Boilermakers fouled redshirt sophomore Tre Demps, who made two free throws to put the Wildcats up three points.
Purdue’s first attempt at a game-tying three-pointer by freshman Kendall Stephens missed badly. But the rebound bounced out of bounds to the Boilermakers with 1.4 seconds remaining.
The Boilermakers inbounded to sophomore Ronnie Johnson, whose last-second trey was rejected emphatically by Northwestern senior Drew Crawford.
Northwestern had to compete with extreme foul trouble late in the game.
Sophomore center Alex Olah fouled out with 2:45 remaining. His backup, senior Nikola Cerina, fouled out in the opening minute of the second overtime, leaving the Wildcats without a true big man.
Redshirt freshman Sanjay Lumpkin also fouled out in the second extra period.
The referees whistled junior guard JerShon Cobb for his fourth foul early in the first overtime, but Cobb avoided fouling out.
Crawford led the Wildcats, along with Demps. Both scored a game-high 19 points. They also combined for five assists and three blocks.
Crawford made a pair of big-time jumpers in the second overtime to build Northwestern’s lead, but Demps’ clutch shooting helped the Wildcats force extra basketball.
Demps made a triple to tie the game at 43-43 with 3:11 remaining in regulation. He did the same thing in the first overtime, this time tying the score at 51-51 with 1:36 on the clock. In the second overtime, he shot 4-of-4 at the foul line.
The Wildcats also received another quality performance from Cobb, who recorded 15 points and seven rebounds. Cobb’s jumper in the final minute of regulation forced overtime.
Sophomore center A.J. Hammons led Purdue with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks. The performance marked his second double-double of the season.
Terone Johnson scored 16 points while Ronnie Johnson posted 12.
Northwestern finishes the week Saturday at home against Iowa (15-3, 4-1). Tip off is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT.