It was a career night for Purdue Boilermakers guard Terone Johnson. He nearly single-handedly led his Boilers to a second straight upset victory in three days as they almost beat the seventh-ranked Michigan Wolverines.
Johnson had a career-high 32 points tonight on 12 of 17 shooting from the field and three for five behind the arc. He also was a perfect five for five from the line to keep Purdue as factors in this game.
Many will point, though, to his mishap in the waning seconds of tonight’s game as the reason Purdue lost.
After a missed Trey Burke free throw, Purdue–trailing by three–had a chance to tie it with under 10 seconds left. Johnson’s brother Ronnie Johnson drove middle and kicked out to his brother, but the elder Johnson fumbled the ball right back in the hands of Burke.
It would have been a very good look at a three-point shot to tie the game. We never know if he would have made it or not, but having a career high in points and already being three for five from three-point land leaves you wondering.
Now Michigan, who didn’t deserve to win tonight, has a chance at a share of the Big Ten title Sunday when they host the conference-leading Indiana Hoosiers in Ann Arbor for the regular season finale. It will be a huge game for both teams and would have been meaningless if Purdue held on to their double-digit second half lead and eliminated the Wolverines from title contention.
The loss instead pretty much eliminated Purdue from taking part in any postseason basketball tournaments outside of the conference tourney. To qualify for the NCAA Tournament, NIT or CBI, a team must have a record above .500. With tonight’s loss, Purdue is now two games below .500 with one game left. They would have to win this weekend on senior day against Minnesota and their first two games in the Big Ten Tournament to be eligible.
That’s a tall task to face and that fact and Johnson’s late turnover will overshadow his great performance.