Late Rally Falls Short

  • By John Antonik
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  • December 22, 2013 04:09 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Purdue got 20 points from Terone Johnson and 14 from his younger brother Ronnie to defeat West Virginia, 73-70, Sunday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum.
Purdue (10-3) was only 1-3 in games away from Mackey Arena this year and this was the first true non-conference road game for the Boilermakers. In fact, it was only the sixth true non-conference road victory in the last 10 seasons for Purdue.
Well, this afternoon’s game was decided just the way West Virginia’s four-point loss to Gonzaga 12 days ago was decided  - with less than five minutes left in the game. Gonzaga was able to make the shots it needed down the stretch to knock off the Mountaineers at the Coliseum. And so did Purdue.
After the Boilermakers took their biggest lead of the game at eight on a Bryson Scott jumper with 10:38 left, West Virginia fought back to make it a two-point game with 5:04 remaining on a Nathan Adrian layup.
But that turned out to be West Virginia’s last field goal until a Juwan Staten driving basket with 43 seconds left.
Meanwhile, Purdue hit the close ones that West Virginia couldn’t make - a Kendall Stephens three-point play with 4:44 left, a Ronnie Johnson jumper with 3:12 remaining and two Basil Smotherman layups at 2:15 and 1:27 left.
Still, West Virginia had a chance to tie it after an Eron Harris 3 with 13 seconds left made it a 71-68 game. Rapheal Davis could only hit one of two from the free throw line, and another Staten driving layup made it a two-point game, 72-70.
Once again, Purdue was only one for two from the line with 4.3 seconds left when Terone Johnson missed his first one, giving WVU a chance to tie it on a last-second shot.
Harris got the ball and raced the length of the floor to attempt a game-tying 3, but Terone Johnson was there to deflect Harris’ shot as the buzzer sounded.
“We couldn’t make a shot,” said Huggins. “We can’t score on seven straight possessions and then we miss a wide-open layup, so now we go nine possessions without a score and we can’t do that.”
Harris led everyone with a game-high 24 points, hitting 9 of 18 from the floor. Freshman Devin Williams added 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Staten contributed 14.
West Virginia once again struggled on the glass getting out-rebounded, 45-38, including allowing Purdue to grab 14 offensive boards.
West Virginia (7-5) also struggled from the floor, shooting 36.9 percent overall (24 of 65) including only 16.7 percent from 3 (3 of 18). Purdue came into today’s game allowing its opponents to shoot just 40.4 percent over its last five games.
“When we go 3 for 18 from 3 we’re not going to beat good people,” said Huggins. “We don’t rebound it well enough not to do that and we don’t have a guy that we can throw it inside to and know we are going to score.”
The Boilermakers shot 41.7 percent and hit 7 of 18 from 3 for 38.9 percent.
Purdue has now won seven of the eight all-time meetings against West Virginia; the Mountaineers’ lone victory in the series came here in 2011.
Purdue led 35-33 at halftime.
West Virginia has one remaining non-league game left against William & Mary in Charleston on Sunday, Dec. 29, before opening Big 12 play on the road at TCU on Jan. 4.

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