Purdue blows late lead, loses 66-65 to Cincinnati in OT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) A handful of Purdue Boilermakers buried their heads in towels, trying to cover their tears in the locker room.
This loss will hurt for a while.
The ninth-seeded Boilermakers led by 7 points with 48.5 seconds left in regulation only to be forced to overtime on a buzzer-beating layup by Troy Caupain, then lost 66-65 to No. 8 seed Cincinnati on Thursday night in the NCAA Tournament.
''We had all the opportunities in the world, and that's why it hurts as bad as it does because we knew we put ourself in position to win and we didn't make the necessary plays,'' Purdue coach Matt Painter said. ''That hurts.''
Jon Octeus put Purdue up 56-49 with 48.5 seconds left with a pair of free throws to cap an 8-0 run that appeared to put the Boilermakers in control. But Cincinnati finished regulation on a 10-3 run capped by Caupain's layup that banked off the glass, rolled around and hit the glass again, staying on the back rim for a moment before falling through.
That sent the Bearcats celebrating while officials reviewed the play to make sure Caupain beat the buzzer. Caupain crouched underneath the basket briefly to watch the ball fall, then waited for officials to rule he beat the buzzer.
''Once it was rolling around the rim, I stopped, I bent down a little bit, I looked up, and once it fell in the rim and the buzzer went off, I just smiled,'' Caupain said.
In overtime, Coreontae DeBerry scored four of his 13 points helping Cincinnati take a lead it wouldn't lose again. The Bearcats outscored Purdue 7-6 in the extra time. Associate head coach Larry Davis credited the Bearcats for refusing to lose and building up Caupain after his missed layup.
''When you've got a team full of guys like that who pull for each other, you've got a chance,'' Davis said. ''You've got a chance. I couldn't be prouder of the group.''
Vince Edwards' would-be tying 3 hit off the rim at the buzzer for the Boilermakers (21-13). The loss snapped a 14-game winning streak for Purdue in NCAA Tournament openers that dated back to 1994.
''It got a little crazy,'' Purdue freshman Mathias said of the ending. ''They just made a couple more plays than we did.''
Cincinnati won for the sixth time in seven games and also won its NCAA opener for the first time since 2012 after Purdue failed to put away the game. When Octeus hit only one of two free throws with 7.4 seconds left, that allowed Caupain to find an open lane and drive to the basket to force overtime.
Purdue snapped a 14-game winning streak in its NCAA openers. The Boilermakers last led 63-61 on a dunk by A.J. Hammons with 3:48 left. They didn't score again until Octeus' layup with 7 seconds left. Caupain missed a free throw, allowing Purdue one final chance that didn't go down to force another overtime.
Hammons finished with 17 points for Purdue, and Edwards had 14.
This was destined to be a defensive showdown with Cincinnati sixth nationally allowing 55.3 points a game and Purdue having led the Big Ten holding opponents to 39.3 percent shooting. The tight game had 16 lead changes.
Purdue: The Boilermakers' winning streak in NCAA Tournament openers had been the the fifth-longest streak in NCAA history. The streak started in 1994 with Glenn ''Big Dog'' Robinson and a win over UCF. Their last opening NCAA loss was in 1993 to Rhode Island. ... They outrebounded Cincinnati 50-38.
Cincinnati: This was the Bearcats' fifth straight NCAA Tournament berth, making them one of only 11 schools with such a streak. ... They lost their opener as No. 5 seed last year and as a No. 6 seed in 2013. ... They came in sixth in the nation in scoring defense allowing 55.3 points per game. That's the third fewest in school history, topped only by the national championship squad in 1962 and the national runner-up in 1963. ... They now are 5-2 in NCAA games in Louisville all-time.
EJECTION: Bearcats junior forward Octavius Ellis was ejected with 17:53 left after officials reviewed a play and saw Ellis catch A.J. Hammons with an elbow to the neck. It was Ellis' third ejection this season.