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Purdue misses chances to tie late, loses at West Virginia

JaJuan Johnson has been a consistent offensive threat for No. 8 Purdue this season.

He followed up a 29-point game in a loss to Minnesota with a 26-point game against West Virginia on Sunday.

But with Purdue trailing by two with less than 30 seconds to play, Johnson never touched the ball.

And the Boilermakers lost, 68-64.

Like most of you, I watched the game on TV. Wish CBS would have shown a replay of Purdue's play with about 20 seconds left.

West Virginia led 64-62, and Johnson grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw. Purdue called a timeout to set up a play with 28.7 seconds left.

Point guard Lewis Jackson got the ball to E'Twaun Moore on the wing, who had Johnson working on a post up on his side of the floor. But instead of feeding the ball to the big man, who made 10 of 17 shots on Sunday, Moore took a jumper.

It missed, like so many of Moore's shots have of late. (He was 6 of 18 against the Mountaineers.)

Moore is a superstar. No disputing that here. But Johnson has been the anchor, especially late. He deserves to take the shot in that situation.

But Purdue had another chance to tie with less than 16 seconds left, needing a three-pointer.

Jackson tried to get the two-pointer, but his shot in the lane didn't touch rim. He quickly scrambled for the rebound and kicked out to an open Ryne Smith.

Smith's shot looked true but clanked off the back rim, sending Purdue to its second consecutive loss, both on the road.

It was only the third time this season that Smith hasn't made a three in a game when he's attempted at least one. In the last two games, Smith is 1 of 6 on threes.

But it was a good look and a perfect shot in that scenario.

We'll see what Purdue learned from this unsuccessful road swing this week when it gets Penn State and Michigan State at home.

  • Lewis Jackson told reporters after the game that he got kneed in the right thigh and has a deep bruise. (Assist here to Gold & Black's Brian Neubert, who posted an audio link.) Considering Jackson re-entered the game after the injury -- he was driving to the basket in the first half when he got hit -- it's likely he'll be ready to play against Penn State on Wednesday. Well, that and the fact that Jackson is one of the toughest guys on the team. He'll play despite pain.
  • John Hart returned to the court for the first time since Dec. 4. Hart, who had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot, played only four minutes. He missed two shots -- his first was an air-ball three-pointer -- and had two fouls.
  • CBS scored an interview with injured forward Robbie Hummel, who said his rehab from a second knee surgery is going well. Hoping that means we'll be able to give you an update from Hummel this week, too. Stay tuned.