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#pounditFriday, March 31, 2023

Purdue uses poor strategy at end of upset loss to Saint Peter’s

Matt Painter smiling

The Purdue Boilermakers became the latest victim of Saint Peter’s in the NCAA Tournament, and some bizarre late-game tactics may have played a part.

The Boilermakers were playing from behind late against the Peacocks, but Mason Gillis scored a layup to bring Purdue within 2 with 25 seconds left. Purdue called timeout, but they were inevitably going to have to foul, as the shot clock would be off for Saint Peter’s.

The Boilermakers came very close to forcing a turnover on the ensuing inbound, but the Peacocks escaped and were able to get the ball across the timeline. Perhaps encouraged by the near-steal, Purdue kept trying to force a turnover instead of fouling. By the time Purdue actually did send Daryl Banks III to the free throw line, 11 seconds had run off the clock.

Bizarrely, the same thing happened after Purdue scored again. Jaden Ivey made a long three to make the score 65-64 Saint Peter’s, but with eight seconds to go, a quick foul was a must. Purdue instead tried to trap, seemingly focused on forcing a turnover. The Peacocks kept their cool, and once again, four more seconds ran off the clock before Purdue finally fouled. The Peacocks made their free throws to close out a 67-64 win.

The bizarre clock management was widely noticed on social media, and immediately criticized.

In total, Purdue’s unwillingness to foul cost them roughly 15 seconds in the final half minute of the game. That meant Saint Peter’s was only forced to make four free throws during that span, limiting the number of mistakes they could make. If Matt Painter pushed this strategy, it was an odd one. There is also the possibility that Purdue players just got caught up in trying for the steal and lost track of how much time was coming off the clock.

Either way, it was a poor look for Purdue. The loss and the manner of it won’t do any good for the reputation of the Big Ten either.

Photo: Mar 17, 2022; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Purdue Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter answers questions during practice before the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports


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