The Cincinnati Bearcats beat the Purdue Boilermakers, 66-65, in overtime in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament in Louisville, Ky. on March 19. The Bearcats clawed their way back from a seven-point deficit with 48 seconds left in regulation to advance in the Midwest Regional.
The Cincinnati Bearcats beat the Purdue Boilermakers, 66-65, in overtime in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on March 19.
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According to Bill Koch of the Bearcats' official athletics website, Cincinnati had to claw its way back from a seven-point deficit with 48 seconds left in regulation to pull of the improbable victory at the KFC Yum Center in Louisville, Ky.
Coreontae DeBerry put the Bearcats in front, 64-63, when he made a reverse layup at the 3:08 mark of the overtime period. Two-and-a-half minutes later, Farad Cobb made a layup to pad their lead to three with just 27.1 seconds remaining on the game clock, per Koch.
Purdue's Jon Octeus scored to trim the deficit to one, 66-65, with 6.9 seconds left. He fouled the Bearcats' best free-throw shooter, Troy Caupain, who missed the one-and-one shot from the charity stripe. Vince Edwards' three-point shot at the buzzer was off, and Cincinnati escaped with its first NCAA Tournament win in three years, per GoBearcats.com.
Koch stresses Cincinnati won despite having center Octavius Ellis for the most part of the second half. Ellis was thrown out of the game after he was whistled for a flagrant-two foul after his forearm hit the Boilermakers' A.J. Hammons in the face during a rebound play.
The Cincinnati Enquirer's Tom Groeschen says it was Ellis' third ejection this season.
DeBerry picked up the slack for Ellis with a career-high 13 points. Farad Cobb led the Cincinnati attack with 14 points, Caupain chipped in with 10 and freshman forward Gary Clark recorded nine points and 12 rebounds.
Hammons was Purdue's top scorer with 17 points. Edwards added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Boilermakers. The loss snapped their 14-game winning streak involving the first game of the NCAA Tournament, per Koch.
The Boilermakers seemed to have the game in hand when they led, 56-49, with 48 seconds remaining in regulation after uncorking an 8-0 run. However, the Bearcats had a 7-0 run of their own behind Kevin Johnson's triple, Caupain's three-point play and then his drive to the basket as time expired, per GoBearcats.com.
Purdue point guard Jon Octeus could have put the game away for his team, but missed three of four free throws in the final 25 seconds of regulation, per Koch.
"Cincinnati is known for not giving in," DeBerry told Groeschen at the final buzzer. "We didn't give in...I had to figure out a way to step up, or it was going to be a long night."
Coming into the game, DeBerry was averging 3.8 points on 9.9 minutes per contest, says Groeschen. Bearcats associate head coach Larry Davis said,"I can't be prouder of a guy. Here's the guy that's played limited moments all year long, and when we needed him the most, he was ready and he came through."
On the other hand, Purdue head men's basketball coach Matt Painter told Groeschen he's giving Cincinnati credit for a hard-fought victory:
"I want to congratulate Cincinnati. Obviously they were able to hang in there when we got that lead and get the game into overtime. Just a hard-fought game. We had all the opportunities in the world, and that's why it hurts as bad as it does."
The game featured two outstanding defensive teams. Cincinnati held its opponents to just 39 percent shooting while Purdue limited its foes to just 39.3 percent. For this contest, the Bearcats had a 41 percent shooting clip while the Boilermakers shot 36 percent, per Groeschen.
The Cincinnati Enquirer update says the Bearcats game plan predicated on using their speed as an advantage to maximize transition baskets and negate the Boilermakers' height advantage. Cincinnati wanted to force Purdue to shoot jump shots and more lower-percentage shots overall.
Koch says the Bearcats will now face a daunting task in the No. 1-ranked Kentucky Wildcats on March 21 for the opportunitiy to move on to the Sweet 16.
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