West Lafayette- Mackey Arena was rocking Monday night as the Purdue Boilermakers took on the Villanova Wildcats. Caleb Swanigan had 20 points and Issac Haas had 18 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough as the Boilermakers fell 79-76.
Purdue opened the game up with an early run by hitting three point baskets and defending well. The Boilers were up 13-9 after the first four minutes of action. Purdue got behind in the second four minutes as Villanova went on an 6-0 run to take the lead 15-13 lead. The Boilermakers got away from their inside game and missed three pointers along the way.
What didn’t help the Boilermakers was foul trouble. Haas and Swanigan saw themselves get two fouls each. ‘Nova’s Josh Hart would take advantage building a 10 point lead with just over seven minutes to go in the half. Purdue would then go on a 13-3 run to tie the game up with 3:28 to go. Swanigan would make a lay up with just under 30 seconds to go in the half. Basil Smotherman, coming off of a suspension, would make a steal and Thompson would hit a half-court shot to tie the game at 39 at halftime.
The Boilers shot 47% in the first half and 40% from the three point line. The Boilers held Villanova to 48% from the field and 30% from behind the three point line. Purdue was led in scoring in the first half by Swanigan who had 13 points and four rebounds.
It all collapsed for the Boilermakers to open the second half as Hart led Villanova on a 17-6 run just under four minutes into the second half. Purdue would answer, going on a 9-0 run to cut it to 1. Nova’s Bridges would answer with a three. Freshman Carsen Edwards would answer with a three of his own, cutting the ‘Nova lead to 61-60 at the under 12 media timeout.
Smotherman would ignite the Boilermakers on the defensive side of the ball, shutting the Villanova offense down during the next four minute stanza. The Boilermakers also would not be able to hit anything, and saw themselves down 67-63 with just over seven minutes to go in the game. The two teams would trade baskets over the next couple minutes allowing the Wildcats to maintain a 71-67 lead.
Haas would get fouled twice down the stretch but only made 1 of 4. Swanigan would add two free throws and a Haas layup would cut the Villanova lead to 1 with a minute left. Villanova would be scoreless for 3:13 down the stretch. The two teams would trade baskets, a set of free throws for the Wildcats, leaving the game with only a one point difference and 31 seconds left in the game. Purdue wouldn’t get any closer as the Wildcats would hit free throws down the stretch and win 79-76.
Purdue shot 52% in the second half but only 26% from behind the three point line. After having four points in the first half, Haas had 18 in the second, but crucial misses from the free throw line by Haas drained Purdue. The Boilermakers showed they can compete with top teams, and even with the loss don’t look for Purdue to fall far in the rankings.