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Boiling Point

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Late comeback falls short for Boilermakers

INDIANAPOLIS – Terone Johnson scored 20 points and A.J. Hammons had 10, but Purdue didn't get much else in its 76-70 loss to Butler on Saturday in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Boilermakers (8-3) failed to find a third scoring option as freshman Kendall Stephens and sophomore Ronnie Johnson went quiet in a crucial game that could have bolstered Purdue's nonconference RPI.

Northrop grad and Purdue freshman Bryson Scott scored 15, but got most of his points in the final minutes when the game was out of reach.

The Boilermakers took an eight-point lead with 13:50 left in the first half but trailed Butler 36-33 at halftime.

Terone Johnson had 14 of his points in the first, and Kellen Dunham had 16 first-half points for Butler (8-2).

The second half wasn't as pretty.

Both teams struggled offensively, and in the first eight minutes, the Boilermakers took advantage of that.

Back-to-back baskets from sophomore center A.J. Hammons with 12 minutes left gave Purdue a 49-48 lead.

Sloppy play gave it right back to the Bulldogs.

The Boilermakers shot well from the field, but allowed Butler to go 7 of 11 from the field in the opening 10 minutes. And after it got that one-point lead, Purdue gave up a 15-4 run that was capped by a step-back 3-pointer by Dunham and a pair of free throws with 3:43 to go.

Frustration boiled over after that decisive stretch. Coach Matt Painter was assessed a technical foul with 2:25 left in the game after Hammons fouled out.

The Boilermakers put together a furious comeback in the final two minutes with a full-court press and a couple steals, and off Scott's play and some impressive finishes from freshman forward Basil Smotherman, Purdue turned a 16-point deficit to a 74-70 game with 19.6 seconds left in the game.

But Butler was able to finish out the win at the free throw line.

Dunham finished with 25 points for Butler, and Khyle Marshall had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Bulldogs.