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November 15, 2012

Knockdown





LISTEN: Matt Painter | D.J. Byrd | Terone Johnson | Ronnie Johnson | Villanova coach Jay Wright and players

Purdue-Villanova Box Score

NEW YORK CITY - A lot went into Purdue's stunning 89-81 overtime loss to Villanova Thursday night in Madison Square Garden, much more than a controversial flagrant foul called against Boilermaker senior D.J. Byrd in the closing minute.

There was no telling that to Byrd, though, after his team let slip a lead that stood at eight points with just one minute and 19 seconds to play in the 2K Sports Classic in New York City.

"I got trapped and couldn't see exactly where he was," Byrd said of the Villanova player he swung his elbow toward after being trapped in the backcourt. "I just tried to turn and throw it back to (Terone Johnson). It all happened so fast, I don't remember exactly what happened. But they looked it over and I guess if an elbow (is swung) at a certain height, it's a flagrant-one.

"The worst thing that could have happened did, and I feel like I'm responsible for that loss."

Matt Painter, whose team now plays Oregon State at 5 p.m. Friday in the consolation game, would very much beg to differ.

"We had every opportunity to win it," the Purdue coach said, "and we went above and beyond the call of duty to lose it."

Between bad turnovers, bad fouls and a questionable shot or two, the list is a long one, but the sequence that bears the most prominence in the game's deciding stretch was the foul on Byrd.

Villanova had already cut Purdue's eight-point cushion in half by the time the scrambling, pressing Wildcats converged on Byrd near the Wildcat bench. As Byrd jostled to get free, the elbow came up. Though video replays seemed inconclusive as to whether the elbow actually landed - 'Nova coach Jay Wright asked media members after the game if it looked like it; when told it didn't, he replied, "Oh, it didn't?" - the infraction was deemed serious enough to award Villanova two free throws and possession, i.e. a chance to tie the game.

They did.

Darrun Hilliard made two free throws. Then Terone Johnson fouled on the inbound, sending 'Nova back to the stripe, where Ryan Arcidiancono made both.

It was difficult to envision Purdue winning at that point, the proverbial wind knocked out of its sails and a couple key players pinned to the bench.

In a game in which Purdue was whistled for 33 fouls to the Wildcats' 22, Anthony Johnson fouled out in the final minutes of the second half, followed by Byrd, as the flagrant dealt him his fourth and fifth fouls.

Ronnie Johnson fouled out in overtime, though the extra session certainly felt like a mere formality in Villanova's improbable comeback.

The Wildcats won the extra session 14-6. James Bell, who was 1-of-8 from three-point range in regulation, was 2-for-2 in OT.

It probably shouldn't have gotten to overtime, though.

"(Our composure) did slip," Terone Johnson said. "We threw the ball away a couple times and that was definitely something that came back to hurt us. We got called from some charges and then the flagrant foul that helped turn the game around."

As torturous as the closing minutes were - and Purdue had to survive a review of a last-second tip-in, reminiscent of last year's loss to Butler, just to get to OT - the total body of the Boilermakers' work was certainly not all bad.

With 16 minutes to play, Purdue was down 10. With seven-and-a-half minutes left, it was up eight following a run of 13 straight points.

"We were making tough plays," said point guard Ronnie Johnson, who nearly notched a double-double with 12 points and nine assists. "We all got into it and we all dove on the floor for loose balls. We got Byrd involved in the game and he started knocking down threes. Everyone just got involved and everyone started pitching in."

Byrd led Purdue with 16 points. Terone Johnson scored 15 and Donnie Hale 11, including some important put-backs in the second half.

Wildcat coach Jay Wright said the game, "came down to physicality," whether it be his team's pressure or the Boilermakers' presence on the boards.

Achieving one of its goals against Villanova, Purdue won the rebounding column decidedly, 53-44. The Boilermakers grabbed 21 offensive rebounds, turning them into 17 points.

But turnovers remain a critical concern. Purdue committed 17 more of them.

"We have to have discipline and we have to play smarter," Painter said. "When you don't do those things, crazy things can happen and you're going to lose basketball games."




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