This season has been nothing like Purdue envisioned.
There remains plenty to play for.
A winning regular-season record, Big Ten tournament seeding and a victorious sendoff for four seniors are all on the line at Mackey Arena today against Northwestern.
We haven’t won enough, Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said. We have to do more winning to feel good about ourselves.
Purdue (15-15, 5-12) will honor seniors Terone Johnson, Travis Carroll, Erick Peck and Sterling Carter, who is injured and will not play.
Winning these games to send our seniors out on a good note and seeing them leave happy will make us feel good, said Rapheal Davis, who played at South Side.
Painter cited Carroll, a scrappy fan favorite from Danville, as the epitome of Purdue basketball.
Having a guy like that is a breath of fresh air, Painter said. He’s been one of the best leaders we’ve had here in 10 years. He’s always got a positive word. That’s a captain. He’s not a guy you have to fight in any capacity.
Carroll views the arrival of Senior Day as bittersweet.
I don’t want to stop playing here, Carroll said. It’s exciting that I’m going to be moving on to other things, but also I don’t feel like leaving yet. I’m 21. It’s weird. I’m about to be making money next year doing real stuff.
Not coaching, though.
He’s too smart, Painter joked. He would be a calming influence. We’re not going to allow him to do that.
Unlike Carroll, Johnson leaves his mark with numbers. He needs two points and eight assists to become one of three players in school history with 1,300 points, 400 rebounds and 300 assists.
For the most part, I had a good career here and enjoyed myself, Johnson said. It’s not fun having to say goodbye.
Especially to playing with brother Ronnie, a sophomore.
We’ve been playing together since he was born, Terone said. It’s been fun on a stage like this to play with him – huge for my parents, also.
Peck built relationships in his only year at Purdue.
It’s gone by fast, he said. I thought the season would last a little longer than it has. I’ve met a lot of cool people. I’ve matured. In 10 or 20 years, I can appreciate that more than stats.
Northwestern (12-18, 5-12) has lost seven in a row but did beat the Boilermakers 63-60 on Jan. 21 in double overtime.
We feel we should have won, Davis said. That put us in a bad spot mentally. I wouldn’t say it was a turning point in the season, but it was a bad loss because we took it the wrong way.
Purdue can still salvage a little of a lost year.
You can’t cry over spilled milk, Peck said. What’s done is done. We have so much talent.
We have underachieved, absolutely. We still have the Big Ten tournament. All is not lost.
If we can pull off those four wins, we can get into the tournament, which is what we wanted to accomplish in the first place.