WEST LAFAYETTE – It might not have been the NCAA Touranment or even the NIT, but the chance to play was so valuable for Matt Painter.
His young Boilermakers team struggled with consistency in a 15-17 regular season in 2012-2013 that a chance to get on the court a few more times was worth paying a price to get in the College Basketball Invitational.
A long stay could mean a head start on the 2013-2014 season, but in the end the extra playing time was just 80 minutes.
Santa Clara overcame a four-point halftime deficit to pull out an 86-83 win over Purdue in the second round of the CBI, bringing an end to the season which finished with a 16-18 overall record.
Ronnie Johnson had a career-high 27 points and his brother added 22 but it wasn’t enough to stop Santa Clara, who outscored the Boilers 53-46 in the second half.
The Boilermakers fell behind by as many as 12 points in the second half but mounted a furious late rally to cut the lead to three. Terone Johnson had a shot to tie the game with a three-pointer but it was off the mark, officially bringing an end to a rebuilding season in West Lafayette.