Purdue avoids upset with 64-56 comeback win over Georgia State
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — During Matt Painter’s 12 seasons coaching Purdue, the Boilermakers have suffered shocking home losses to Wofford, Bucknell and Gardner-Webb.
With 7:08 remaining in Friday night’s game against Georgia State, Purdue trailed 56-44 and was in danger of falling to 1-2 after making only two of its first 18 attempts from three-point range.
But with Caleb Swanigan finishing with 19 points and 11 rebounds, the Boilermakers (2-1) closed the game with a 20-0 run to salvage a 64-56 victory in an on-campus Cancun Challenge game.
Dakota Mathias hit two three-pointers and P.J. Thompson one during the game-closing run.
"I think the three-pointers sealed the game, but our defense during the final 10 minutes of each of our past two games has been very good," Painter said. "You obviously are not impressed by the position we put ourselves in, but I don’t think our guys respected them as much as our coaching staff did."
Center Isaas Haas added 11 points for Purdue, and Jeremy Hollowell had 15 to lead Georgia State (1-2), which also got 13 points from D’Marcus Simonds.
"Give (Georgia State) a lot of credit," Mathias said. "They are a good team. Something we’ve got to learn is to not take anyone lightly."
Georgia State led 56-44 on a Malik Benlevi basket with 7:08 remaining, but Purdue pulled even at 56 on two Haas free throws with 3:57 remaining.
Coming off an emotional 79-76 loss to national champion and No. 3 Villanova on Monday night, the Boilermakers were flat throughout most of the game’s first 33 minutes before salvaging a victory with tenacious defense during the final seven minutes.
Georgia State’s active zone limited Purdue to 37.8 percent field goal shooting (17 of 45), including 5 of 22 from three-point range and outrebounded the Boilermakers, 35-26. But Purdue outscored Georgia State 25-7 at the free throw line.
"When you are playing a really good team, you’ve got to take something away," Georgia State coach Ron Hunter said. "You look at the numbers with their inside guys, and you want to take something away from that. I thought we did a really good job to corrall Swanigan to 19 and Haas to 11."
Hollowell had 13 points and three assists in the first half to help Georgia State to a 30-27 advantage.
Swanigan had 12 points and five rebounds at halftime, but no other Boilermakers scored more than four during the opening 20 minutes when taller Purdue was outrebounded, 18-15.
The Boilermakers stayed close by outscoring Georgia State 10-4 from the free throw line.
Georgia State: Coach Ron Hunter’s team has averaged 20 victories during his five seasons at the school, and the Panthers proved again Friday night why they will be a strong candidate for an NCAA tournament berth.
Purdue: While the Boilermakers finally wore Georgia State down, Purdue’s backcourt weaknesses were revealed, making only two of their first 18 attempts from three-point range and failing to pound the ball inside effectively against the smaller Panthers.
In trying to contain Swanigan and Haas, Georgia State’s Willie Clayton, Isaiah Dennis and Malik Benlevi all fouled out before the second half’s 9:30 mark. Georgia State was called for 31 fouls while Purdue was called for 16.
It will be interesting to see what voters do with No. 15 Purdue after the Boilermakers played so well in Monday’s loss to Villanova, then played poorly for the first 33 minutes against Georgia State before closing the game with a 20-0 run.
Georgia State: The Panthers will play the NJIT on Tuesday in the Cancun Challenge.
Purdue: The Boilermakers head to Cancun, Mexico to play against Utah State.