BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Each morning of a Purdue basketball game, the Boilermakers stage a free-throw shooting contest. Until Thursday morning in Indiana's Assembly Hall, 7-foot center A.J. Hammons had not won this season.
Hammons thought it might mean something special for Thursday night and, with 4.3 seconds left, he sank two free throws to give Purdue a 67-63 victory against Indiana.
"Winning that contest today helped me stay focused and gave me confidence," Hammons said. "I took my time and didn't even think about the crowd. This was the perfect day for me to win that contest."
Hammons finished with 20 points, four rebounds and four blocks, and Isaac Haas added 12 points and nine rebounds.
"I was proud of Isaac, because until tonight, he had never played here," Hammons said of the 7-2 freshman. "I thought tonight was going to be hard for him. To date, that probably is the best we have played together."
Rapheal Davis gave Purdue (18-9, 10-4) the lead for keeps at 64-61 with back-to-back driving layups at the 1:21 mark and again with 36 seconds to play.
"Like I tell our guys all year, this game is bigger than our team," Davis said. "It is a huge game, so we were playing for our fans and for our coaches."
Davis added with 11 points and 10 rebounds and Purdue won in Bloomington for the first time since a 72-61 triumph on Feb. 23, 2011.
Indiana's Yogi Ferrell missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer with five seconds to go.
Hammons' layup with 12:11 left in the game gave Purdue a 48-41 lead and capped a 21-12 burst to begin the second half.
"Hammons was huge for us, and Haas gets 12 points and nine rebounds in 12 minutes," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "Without question, that is the best game they have played together this season."
Purdue led 55-47 with 7:25 to play, but Indiana rallied to take the lead at 61-60 on Ferrell's 3-pointer with 1:44 left.
Ferrell led Indiana (18-9, 8-6) with 21 points. Troy Williams and James Blackmon, Jr. each added 14 for Indiana, which made only five 3-pointers after sinking 18 on Sunday against Minnesota.
"Unfortunately for us, the shots we made the other night and the shots we have been making didn't go in," said Indiana coach Tom Crean. "We also gave up too many points in the paint, and it wasn't just post ups. We were not as aggressive on the glass as we needed to be."
Purdue, which has beaten the Hoosiers three consecutive times, outrebounded Indiana 38-21.
While Indiana held Purdue to 2-of-18 3-point shooting, the interior game beat the Hoosiers.
"Shots would go up, and we were not blocking out," Blackmon said. "They got some offensive rebounds, and that got them going from the beginning."
Ferrell's driving layup just ahead of the buzzer gave Indiana a 29-27 halftime lead, although the Hoosiers scored only nine points during the first half's final 10:37.
With Isaac Haas contributing six points and Jon Octeus five, the Boilermakers mounted a 15-7 run to tie it at 27 before Ferrell's buzzer-beater.
Purdue: The Boilermakers entered 9-31 all-time in Indiana's Assembly Hall. ... Before facing the Hoosiers, Purdue had won six of its most recent seven games. ... In Big Ten games, Purdue leads the conference in field-goal percentage defense at 38.8.
Indiana: Yogi Ferrell made two 3-pointers in the opening half, extending his streak of consecutive games with at least one trey to 58. ... Indiana entered shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range, third best in the nation. ... The Hoosiers have six victories against teams in the RPI Top 50, best in the Big Ten.
Purdue centers Hammons and Haas were a combined 10 of 11 from the free-throw line, helping Purdue shoot a collective 81 percent on 17 of 21.
ARE THEY IN?
Painter responded to the question about Purdue's NCAA tournament chances, "You can only say that if you can lose the rest of your regular season games and still get in. We cannot do that. Remember, we were 8-5 in the nonconference with a couple of bad losses."
Purdue hosts Rutgers next Thursday.
Indiana will visit Rutgers on Sunday.
- Gene Steratore
- Steve McJunkins
- Mike Eades