WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – No. 18 Purdue turned Tuesday night's game into an impromptu Senior Night celebration.
Rapheal Davis, the Boilermakers' defensive stopper, played the offensive game of his life. A.J. Hammons, a 7-foot center, nearly posted a triple-double. And together they refused to let No. 8 Michigan State beat them again.
Davis made one of two free throws with 4.6 seconds left in overtime and Hammons wrestled the ensuing rebound on a miss from several defenders to preserve an 82-81 victory.
"I've been telling these guys since the summer I just want to beat Michigan State," Davis said. "I've never beat Michigan State."
Leading up to the game, the banter had focused almost exclusively on the Boilermakers' seven-game losing streak in this series.
So when Purdue's 18-point second-half lead vanished and Michigan State took a 72-68 lead with 1:59 left in regulation, it looked like the Boilermakers were doomed again.
Davis and Hammons wouldn't allow it to happen.
The Boilermakers (20-5, 8-4 Big Ten) scored the final four points of regulation and the first four points in overtime. Davis broke the 81-81 tie and Hammons sealed it with the rebound before spiking the ball and jogging to midcourt where the Purdue players embraced.
"I saw them fighting over it, so I just reached in and made sure I got it," Hammons said.
Davis needed just one half to produce a season-high 19 points and set a career high by making five three-pointers. When the shooting guard cooled off in the second half, Hammons jumped in and finished the job. He scored 19 points, had a season-high 13 rebounds and eight blocks to equal a career high.
Hammons wasn't the only player flirting with a triple-double. Denzel Valentine finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Spartans (20-5, 7-5).
His three three-pointers in a 49-second flurry early in the second half got the Spartans back into the game and his layup with 11.5 seconds left in overtime tied the score at 81.
But after forcing a shot-clock violation late in regulation, Valentine missed a three at the buzzer that could have won it and committed the foul on Davis in overtime that proved to be the difference.