Purdue put together a 97-second possession to melt the clock and move closer to victory.
The Boilermakers, holding a five-point lead, ran the shot clock down before Rapheal Davis finally launched a 3-pointer. Purdue guard Jon Octeus pulled down the offensive rebound and reset the Boilermakers for another long possession. This time, Dakota Mathias fired from beyond the arc in the final seconds of the shot clock, the buzzer going off as his attempt missed.
Octeus came away with the rebound, giving Purdue the chance to burn more time until another missed 3 finally ended the possession.
Penn State’s scoreless streak had stretched to seven minutes.
The 13th-seeded Nittany Lions managed just two field goals in the final nine minutes of its 64-59 loss to fourth-seeded Purdue in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals Friday at the United Center.
The Boilermakers advance to face top-seeded Wisconsin in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Badgers beat No. 9 Michigan 71-60 Friday.
Penn State (18-16) shot 26.9 percent from the field in the second half, wilting late to end its conference tournament run. The Nittany Lions held off Nebraska in the first round Wednesday and beat Iowa in the second round Thursday.
Penn State coach Patrick Chambers called the three-day performance a steppingstone for his program after compiling a disappointing 4-14 record in Big Ten play during the season.
“Those guys are hurting in there,” Chambers said. “There’s not a dry eye. That means we’re headed in the right direction because when you’re invested, it hurts. There’s tears. There’s pain. There’s suffering when you’re invested. When you’re not invested, it’s easy. Those guys are invested.”
Penn State’s D.J. Newbill scored 19 points, getting nine in the final 39 seconds. The senior guard went 6 for 18 from the field.
“They did limit my good looks,” Newbill said. “They made sure almost every shot was contested. I give them credit.”
A.J. Hammons scored 23 points to lead Purdue.
Penn State led by as many as 11 in the first half, holding a 37-26 lead after a 3-pointer by Donovon Jack less than two minutes before the break. The Boilermakers (21-11) closed the half on a six-point run and trailed 37-32 at halftime.
Purdue pulled ahead 42-41 five minutes into the second half, but the Nittany Lions responded and rebuilt their lead heading into the final nine minutes.
They took a 50-44 lead on Brandon Taylor’s 3-pointer with 9:11 left. But by the time Penn State scored again, on a 3-pointer by Newbill with 39 seconds left, the Boilermakers had taken control.
“I thought they made tough shots in the first half,” Painter said. “I thought we had a couple breakdowns, but for the most part I thought they made tough shots. ... I just thought those guys made some difficult shots, and then in the second half they didn’t make as many.”
Purdue’s extended possession ensured Penn State’s scoreless run continued into the final two minutes.
Octeus secured both rebounds, allowing the Boilermakers to maintain possession with a 55-50 lead until there was 2:11 left.
“I think Jon is one of the best rebounding guards in the country, if not the best,” said Davis, who had 13 points for Purdue. “He got two huge offensive rebounds in that stretch and was smart enough to bring it out. He’s a veteran guard. He was smart enough not to force anything.”
Purdue coach Matt Painter said he thought fatigue became a factor late against a Penn State team playing its third game in three days.
“I thought that 90-second possession we had — with the two offensive rebounds, I thought fatigue got in there,” Painter said. “I thought we were just a little quicker to the basketball in that stretch.”
Newbill and teammate Ross Travis said fatigue didn’t come into play.
“I don’t think fatigue played a role at all,” said Travis, who added 10 points and nine rebounds. “Minutes are winding down and adrenaline kicks in.”
When Newbill hit a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left, Purdue still held a 57-53 lead.
The Boilermakers went 7 for 10 at the foul line in the final 39 seconds to seal the win. Newbill finished a layup with 4.6 seconds left for Penn State’s second field goal in the last nine minutes.
Chambers said he’ll discuss the program’s plan with athletic director Sandy Barbour when asked if Penn State will accept a postseason bid.
“We’ll discuss it and see what’s best for the program, see what’s best for these players and go from there,” Chambers said. “But that was the goal, and hopefully something comes our way.”