Freshman guard Isaiah Thompson missed a layup with 4 seconds remaining in overtime that could have lifted the Purdue men’s team (4-3) to victory in the championship game of the Emerald Coast Classic on Saturday night against Florida State. Instead, the Seminoles (7-1) rebounded the miss and hit a pair of free throws to seal a Purdue 63-60 loss.
Matt Haarms led the Boilers in scoring with 16 points, while Jahaad Proctor and Eric Hunter Jr. had 12 and 10 points respectively.
Florida State won the game despite being out rebounded, 48-33, and outshot from the 3 point line by four – the Seminoles were a dismal 1 of 17 from long range, while the Boilers were 5 of 24.
The difference was turnovers. Purdue had 24 while Florida State had 13.
Purdue coach Matt Painter could not really explain the cause of the turnovers other than the great pressure from Florida State.
"Across the board when you get that many turnovers it’s hard to really generalize (the reason) because you have so many different ones ... we really weren't strong with the ball," he said. "You have to give Florida State credit."
For Painter, the pressure was significant but not insurmountable in the game.
"We out rebound them by 15 – they’re pretty long and athletic, they’re pretty quick – so I think there’s something we can hang our hat on as a positive, " he said. "But when they get 16 steals and you have 24 turnovers we just played and you just played one of the best pressing teams in the country in VCU, so it wasn’t like we were not prepared for pressure. We just got done playing a team in a close game.
"It’s part of competitive sports, it’s part of coaching basketball – you win by one possession and you think you’re pretty damn good, but you lose by one possession and you think you are awful. You’re not wrong in either case."
Two Purdue guards struggled significantly in the game.
Aaron Wheeler was 2 of 12 from he field, including 0 of 7 from 3-point range. And Nojel Eastern did not score in either game in Florida and fouled out on Saturday.
"He just hasn't gotten into a rhythm," Painter said of Wheeler. "He hasn't shot the ball well all season. From an effort point of view, he leads us in rebounds – (including) eight rebounds in 27 minutes (on Saturday), but he doesn't help us on the offensive end."
Eastern was 0 of 1 from the field in both games in Florida. Thompson has gotten significant playing time as other guards have struggled. On Saturday he had five points in 33 minutes of play and just one turnover.
"These types of experiences for young guys really pay off down the road," Painter said.
The veteran coach was not ready to say this is a good defensive team, but he knows that is what it is doing best right now.
"We're going to have do a better job in ball control and our decision making," he said.
• Next up for Purdue is hosting No. 7 Virginia (7-0) at 7:30 p.m., on Wednesday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The defending national champion is once again an outstanding defensive team. Teams are shooting just 28 percent against the Cavs, the best defensive shooting percentage in the nation. Virginia also leads the nation in defensive scoring average giving up just 40.3 points per game. Three times this season, Virginia has given up less than 35 points to an opponent and held Maine to just 26 points Nov. 27.