Iowa was playing for little more than pride — and yet still played harder than the shell-shocked Boilermakers.
Jarryd Cole had 16 points and 10 rebounds in his final home game and Iowa stunned No. 6 Purdue 67-65 Saturday, putting the Boilermakers' hopes for a top seed in the NCAAs in jeopardy and clinching the league title for top-ranked Ohio State.
Bryce Cartwright and Matt Gatens each added 13 points for the Hawkeyes (11-19, 4-14), who snapped the Boilermakers' seven-game winning streak along with their own dubious skid of 25 straight losses to ranked opponents.
"Our effort wasn't as good as Iowa's," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "They made more hustle plays there at the end."
JaJuan Johnson had 22 points and 12 rebounds for Purdue (25-6, 14-4), which went 5 of 25 from 3-point range and shot just 36.2 percent from the field. As if that wasn't bad enough, the Boilermakers were also outrebounded 48-40 by Iowa, which isn't exactly known for its inside play.
What was most striking for Purdue, though, was how it got outworked by a team with almost no postseason aspirations on the first weekend in March.
"They played harder than us (Saturday). It sucks to say that at this point in the year, but they really did," said Johnson, who went 9 of 23 from the field. "It's just how we respond to it. It could be a blessing in disguise."
Though the Hawkeyes came in with three Big Ten wins, they were in control for nearly the entire second half.
Cartwright hit a floater that bounced up and in with 31 seconds left to put the Hawkeyes ahead 65-61. Purdue's Lewis Jackson answered with a layup, but Gatens raced down the floor and hit two game-icing free throws with 6 seconds left.
It took 30 games for Iowa to put it all together, but the Hawkeyes finally came through by pulling off perhaps the Big Ten's biggest upset of the year.
"We have to consistently do what we did (Saturday), play with that kind of composure and that kind of effort, and great things happen," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
Purdue briefly grabbed the lead back with 4:44 left, as D.J. Byrd drilled his only 3 from the wing to put the Boilermakers up 56-55. But Cole answered with a quick jumper, and freshman Melsahn Basabe threw down a rousing dunk off a miss to give Iowa a 59-56 lead.
Cole then rattled home a short jumper to put the Hawkeyes ahead 63-59 with 1:44 left. Jackson answered with a layup after a missed free throw by Iowa, but the Boilermakers couldn't get any closer.
Jackson had 13 points and E'Twaun Moore added 11 for Purdue, which lost its first road game in a month.
"They wanted to make sure Jarryd Cole got a win on his Senior Night," Jackson said. "We struggled shooting the ball and we didn't rebound well. I think those two things — plus the play of Iowa — really helped them get this win."
Iowa appeared ready to blow things open early in the second half — even with Cartwright out for an extended period with what he said was a leg injury. But the out-of-sync Boilermakers trailed 53-48 midway through the second half despite scoring just four points in a 7-minute stretch.
Cartwright, who also had seven assists, re-entered the game with 7:19 left and the Hawkeyes up 53-50. He was on the floor as Iowa's fans stormed the court following the program's biggest win in years.
After a sluggish start, Iowa pulled to 19-17 midway through the first half. Purdue's Terone Johnson answered with a 3, though, and Basabe blew an open dunk after a defensive lapse by the Boilermakers.
Purdue went into the break tied at 36 despite getting owned on the boards, 28-16, and hitting just five of its 11 free throws.
"Anytime you're down by 12 at the half in rebounding, you're going to put yourself in a tough position," JaJuan Johnson said.
Saturday's game proved to be a rousing home sendoff for Cole, the last Iowa player linked to former coach Steve Alford.
Cole was recruited by Alford, who left for New Mexico before Cole's freshman season, and played for Todd Lickliter and first-year coach Fran McCaffery. He finally beat Purdue on what was likely his last try, as Iowa snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Boilermakers dating to 2007.
"This is how I wanted it to go, and you know very seldom have I gotten things to go my way here," Cole said. "This was definitely a blessing."