Purdue flexed its muscles on the road Sunday with a four point victory at Northwestern. Blowing a nine-point lead in the last minutes of the game, the Boilermakers hung on for the victory in the closing seconds, coming out with 69-65 victory.
The Boilermakers were led by Vincent Edwards who scored a game-high 25 points and Caleb Swanigan’s 20 points and 14 rebounds, his 25th double-double of the year. Northwestern was led by Byrant McIntosh who led all scorers with 25 points.
Purdue fell behind early in the first half playing before a hostile crowd in Welsh-Ryan Arena, hosting its last game before being closed for renovations. Purdue trailed 12-21 at the 12:29 point, when Scott Lindsey hit a three-point shot. But Northwestern then went almost five minutes without scoring as Purdue finally took the lead 23-21 with 8:03 to go on Swanigan’s three-pointer. The half ended knotted at 37 for both teams.
In second half the score continue to be close until Purdue was able to open up a nine-point lead, 59-50, on a Swanigan dunk with 7:03 to play. However, Northwestern continued to chip away as the Boilermakers went scoreless and trailed by only two with 3:53 left. At this point, Purdue started feeding Swanigan down low who either made baskets or made free throws to maintain a small lead. Nathan Taphorn had an opportunity to tie the game but shot an air ball from the perimeter. Vince Edwards made two more free throws with four seconds left to seal the victory.
The win greatly improved the Boilermaker’s NCAA tournament resume, marking the second time this year they have gone on the road to defeat a ranked team and third road victory against top-fifty RPI team. As the number one seed in the Big Ten Tournament, Purdue will not play again until next Friday afternoon when the will play the winner of the Illinois-Michigan winner in the quarterfinals in Washington DC.