By ZACH HORRALL
No. 15 Purdue University defeated No. 23 Notre Dame 86-81 in the Crossroads Classic thanks to a late game charge after being down 17 points near the middle of the game.
“To get a quality win versus a team like Notre Dame, they don’t beat themselves, so just being able to get that quality win was huge for us,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. “Also how we did it, the ability to come back against a team that doesn’t beat themselves is a huge confidence boost for us.”
“That’s a tough game to swallow,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said. “Give Purdue credit, they defended us well in the second half. I don’t think our movement was great. That’s the second weekend in a row against two good teams.”
Notre Dame was the first team to score thanks to a three pointer from V.J. Beachem. Caleb Swanigan returned the favor for Purdue and tied the game.
Bonzie Colson led the Figing Irish early on, scoring four of the team’s first seven points. With his help, Notre Dame’s lead grew to as much as six early on. After Notre Dame’s hot start, Purdue rallied back to be down just two at the first media timeout, 11-9.
As the first half continued, Notre Dame faced some opposition from Purdue, but eventually began to extend their lead. After the under 12 media timeout, Notre Dame went on a 12-6 run, shaping up how the first half was going to end.
Two killer dunks from Beachem and Martinas Geben in the final minute cemented the Fighting Irish’s dominance. At the half, Notre Dame led 52-38.
The second half started off right for Purdue. Carsen Edwards put the first points on the board with a three pointer. Before the first media timeout of the second half, five Boilermakers scored nearly points each to bring the team to within four of Notre Dame: 59-57.
In that timespan, Notre Dame was forced to call a timeout due in part to their 2:10 scoring drought.
After Notre Dame’s rough start, the team found its rhythm and jumped out to a nine point lead. The Fighting Irish went on a 6-0 run as Colson, T.J. Gibbs and Austin Torres each scored two points. At the under 12 timeout, Notre Dame only led 65-62.
Upon returning from timeout, Purdue took their first lead of the game as Swanigan cut the deficit to one point and Ryan Cline swished a three pointer to take control.
Swanigan noted the second half charge came from their willingness to change and desire to win.
“That just shows our versatility as a team, being able to match up with a small team,” he said. “It just came from us. We wanted to win the game. We’re tired of losing games to quality opponents.”
Notre Dame fell into another slump, this time going into 3 minute scoring drought. The team called a timeout with 10 minutes remaining in order to regroup.
The Fighting Irish found a rhythm, but Purdue never lost theirs. Both teams went on to score seven points before the under 8 timeout, and Purdue led 74-72.
Purdue then fell into a drought of their own. The Boilermakers made a basket, then went 1-8 and fell into a 3:22 scoring drought.
With help from Cline, Swanigan and Vincent Edwards, Purdue held onto their lead at the under 4 timeout. Notre Dame pulled within three thanks to buckets scored by Colson and Farrell.
Colson pulled the game within one point after scoring a basket. Swanigan retaliated with an easy dunk to give the Boilermakers a three point lead.
The game was sealed with 20 seconds left when Matt Ryan air balled a Notre Dame ball and Purdue rebounded.
After a series of fouls on Notre Dame at the end, Purdue made their free throws and held on for their first victor in the Crossroads Classic.
After the game, Brey noted that “Swanigan was crushing us.” Swanigan led the team with 26 points, 10 rebounds and one assist. Vincent Edwards followed behind with 20 points, 10 rebounds and one assist. Carsen Edwards also had 11 points on the day.
Colson led the way in scoring for Notre Dame with 23 points. He also racked up 10 rebounds. Matt Farrell accumulated 22 points, five rebounds and 10 assists during the game.
Brey blamed today’s loss on himself and said the coaching staff needs to figure some things out before conference play starts.
“It was probably a little bit of fatigue on our part, Brey said. “We probably got to get them a little bit more organized, and that’s on my part. But I think you gotta give Purdue credit. We’re not at the level of the two teams we played. I told them that. They’re at another level and we have some work to do before New Years.”