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Purdue loses to clinch Big Ten last place

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For more on college sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio

Northwestern sweeps the Boilers

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 10:33 pm

WEST LAFAYETTE – Basketball returned to its peach basket roots in Mackey Arena.

That's not a positive.

Purdue and Northwestern spent Sunday's first half setting offensive basketball back to the late 19th Century, when nobody but Dr. James Naismith knew what was going on, and he was making it up as he went.

In the first half Purdue shot 19 percent and scored a season-low 21 points.

The second half was better, but not enough for the Boilers. They lost 74-65 to extend their losing streak to six games. At 15-16, it's their second straight losing regular season record. That hasn't happened since 2005 and 2006, former coach Gene Keady's last year and current coach Matt Painter's first season.

Northwestern (13-18, 6-12) ended its seven-game losing streak.

"We didn’t get into any flow from an offensive standpoint," Painter said.

"It's just too bad. It's really disappointing we couldn’t get the ball inside, we couldn't drive inside, we couldn’t show more patience to get a better shot.

Purdue finished last in the Big Ten with a 5-13 record, its worst since going 3-13 in 2006. It has the No. 12 seed in the Big Ten tourney. It will play Ohio State (23-8) Thursday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Tipoff is at 2:30.

"We have the Big Ten Tournament," Painter said. "We'll keep plugging and trying.

"We put ourselves in a bad position. You have to win that first game and work from there. You're still just playing a game, but we put ourselves in the worst possible position."

Rapheal Davis led Purdue with 13 points and nine rebounds. A.J. Hammonds also had 13 points. Seniors Terone Johnson and Travis Carroll played in their final regular season home game. Johnson had 10 points and three rebounds. Carroll set season highs for points (7) and rebounds (4).

"Travis and Ray were the only guys ready to play in the first half. They gave us some positive energy."

Northwestern, which beat the Boilers in double overtime last month in Evanston, was led by Drew Crawford's 27 points and seven rebounds.

Purdue opened 2-for-16 from the field with three turnovers. Northwestern countered with 5-for-17 shooting for a 12-11 early lead.

That set a cold-shooting tone that never heated up. By halftime Purdue starters Kendall Stephens (0-for-5), Hammons (0-for-3), Terone Johnson (0-for-3) and Ronnie Johnson (0-for-3) totaled just two points, on Stephens' two free throws. Rapheal Davis was the lone starter to score in the first half. He had six points and six rebounds.

Overall, Purdue shot 19.2 percent (5-for-26) in the first half to Northwestern's 34.4 percent (11-for-32).

The Wildcats led 28-21.

Eight minutes into the second half Northwestern led 42-30. A minute later, the lead was 13. With nine minutes left, the Wildcats led 48-34.

The Boilers went with full-court pressure and pulled within six on Davis' three-pointer with 2:42 left.

It wasn't enough.

After the game, Carroll and Terone Johnson, along with fifth-year senior transfers Errick Peck and Sterling Carter, were honored in an on-court ceremony.

“This year we had a lot of ups and downs," Painter said. "Dealing with that, with our seniors not getting a win today, having adversity -- you learn a lot about yourself. You find out who you are when adversity sets in. That's how you build character. They've hung in there and battled.

"Today was a disappointing day. Our seniors put in a lot of time and made a lot of sacrifices. They've battled through the years."

Carroll, who has played basketball since he was a third grader, thanked Painter. He said Painter, "cares about people more than basketball. He wants you to succeed in life."

Johnson thanked athletic director Morgan Burke, as well as Painter ("He taught me about life, not just basketball"). He got emotional talking about his family.

"They've been my backbone."