Cam Spencer’s 3-pointer with 13.3 seconds left gave Rutgers the lead and No. 1 Purdue failed to convert on its final two chances Monday night as the Scarlet Knights held on for a shocking 65-64 road victory.
It’s the second straight year coach Steve Pikiell’s team has upset top-ranked Purdue. Last year, the Scarlet Knights needed a half-court buzzer-beater on its home court to pull off the school’s first win over a No. 1 ranked team.
This time Rutgers (10-4, 2-1 Big Ten) did it in front of Mackey Arena’s 49th consecutive sellout crowd.
Spencer finished with 14 points while Paul Mulcahy had 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
The Boilermakers (13-1, 2-1) were led by Zach Edey who overcame early foul trouble to finish with 19 points and 10 rebounds. It just wasn’t enough to close out an incredible second-half rally from a 10-point deficit. New Mexico is now the last remaining unbeaten team in Division I.
Rutgers controlled the game most of the night, taking a 34-24 halftime lead and fending off the Boilermakers as they charged back. Purdue tied the score at 52, then finally took the lead on Brandon Newman’s tie-breaking 3-pointer with 4:45 to play.
Mulcahy answered with the Scarlet Knights’ next 10 points, which gave Rutgers a 62-57 lead with 2:22 to play. Purdue answered with four straight to make it 62-61 and when Mulcahy missed a short jumper with 54 seconds to go, Edey grabbed the rebound, Purdue called timeout and freshman Fletcher Loyer made the go-ahead 3 with 29.8 seconds left.
But Spencer made his 3 after another timeout then watched Newman miss a 3. And after Rutgers turned it over on an inbound play with 0.4 seconds to go, the Boilermakers couldn’t get the ball to Edey for a final shot.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights have hit incredible heights under coach Pikiell. They’ve beaten 14 ranked opponents, upset a No. 1 team for the first time in school history and now they’ve done it again. Clearly, the Scarlet Knights seem bound to make a school-record third straight NCAA Tournament.
Purdue: Coach Matt Painter’s team was poised to match the best start in school history, but Rutgers’ suffocating defense got in the way again. The Boilermakers had won 34 in a row over unranked foes at home or on neutral courts. But this one was neither easy nor pretty and they fell just short.
Rutgers: Returns home Thursday against Maryland.
Purdue: Faces a major road test Thursday at No. 24 Ohio State.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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