Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brazen drive wins it for Purdue

Purdue’s 6-foot-3 Chris Kramer drives through the taller Aggies to lay in the winner with 4.2 seconds left in overtime, completing a rally from an 11-point second-half deficit. Up next: Duke.

Getty Images

Purdue’s 6-foot-3 Chris Kramer drives through the taller Aggies to lay in the winner with 4.2 seconds left in overtime, completing a rally from an 11-point second-half deficit. Up next: Duke.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Chris Kramer ignored his coach's final play call and demanded the ball with Purdue's season on the line.

The two-time Big Ten defensive player of the year, the rugged soul of Boilermakers basketball with leader Robbie Hummel out for the season, forgot he is just 6 feet 3. Or, he didn't care.

Kramer plowed past one defender 4 inches taller than he is and flipped in a layup over Texas A&M's Bryan Davis, who is 6 inches taller, with 4.2 seconds left in overtime Sunday. That sent the fourth-seeded Boilermakers (29-5) into the region semifinals with a 63-61 victory over the devastated Aggies.

"I had the ball and went right and crossed over to the left, and it parted like the Red Sea," Kramer said of A&M's defense.

The ending left Kramer pounding his chest. Then, delirious teammates pummeled him from front and back near midcourt.

Kramer's kind of day.

"Bodies were clashing, both teams refused to lose," he said. "And it came down to one play."

B.J. Holmes got a final chance to win it for fifth-seeded Texas A&M (24-10) with a frantic 3-point try from in front of his bench at the buzzer, but it hit the front of the rim to ensure Purdue's sixth region semifinal appearance in 12 NCAA Tournaments dating to 1994.

The Boilermakers rallied from 11 points down in the second half and will face Duke in Houston on Friday. Hummel has promised to be there as a spectator.

This all seemed like a pipe dream a month ago, when the Big Ten regular season co-champions, former top-seed candidate and trendy pick for the Final Four in its home state lost Hummel to a knee injury. President Barack Obama thought the Boilermakers wouldn't get out of the first round.

They may have overlooked the square-jawed, football-sized Kramer. He led the Boilermakers with 17 points, seven rebounds and countless dives to the floor for loose balls.

"A lot of people are saying, 'Great accomplishment, you made the Sweet 16 without Robbie,' but the coach keeps saying you've got to keep dreaming," Kramer said of Matt Painter. "You've got to want more, and you can never be satisfied."

After Holmes' last miss, he stayed slumped on the court with his head bowed under his maroon jersey for more than a minute. Teammates ushered the inconsolable Davis away.

DUKE 68, CAL 53: Defense has always been the foundation of Mike Krzyzewski's team, and the top-seeded Blue Devils sent their coach of three decades into a region semifinal for the 19th time with a stellar performance in Jacksonville.

After winning both the ACC regular-season and tournament titles, Duke is playing the type of suffocating defense that could put Krzyzewski back in the Final Four for an 11th time.

The Blue Devils (31-5) last reached the national semifinals in 2004, not that their coach feels as though they've let him down.

"You know, I hate when somebody compares those teams of the last couple years with our national championship teams, and they say they underachieved," Krzyzewski said. "Are you kidding me? They won 30, 29 games. But they were limited teams, and they couldn't play the defense that this team can play because we have big guys."

Exploiting a huge advantage in size and depth in the frontcourt, Duke opened a double-digit lead in the first half, and the eighth-seeded Bears (24-11) never seriously threatened again.

Brazen drive wins it for Purdue 03/21/10 [Last modified: Sunday, March 21, 2010 10:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  2. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  3. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  4. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …

  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi had to battle without his best stuff again, which is becoming a more common occurrence, leading to long at-bats — including 13 pitches to Kennys Vargas in the fifth — and running up his pitch count to 118 without finishing the sixth.