For the first time in program history, Purdue was atop the AP men’s college basketball poll, after 380 weeks of being ranked and 11 times finding themselves at No. 2.
At 8-0, the Boilermakers entered Thursday night as one of the last unbeaten teams in the country, and made the trek to the East Coast for a Big Ten matchup with Rutgers in Piscataway, New Jersey. At 4-4 with losses to UMass and Lafayette, few anticipated the Scarlet Knights being the ones to dethrone the Boilermakers in their first week at No. 1, but strange things happen in college basketball, particularly when a team has a player as good as Ron Harper Jr.
The son of the former Chicago Bulls point guard had a monster night with 30 points and 10 rebounds, going 5-of-7 from three-point range to carry the Scarlet Knights down the stretch. After hitting a turnaround jumper in the paint to give Rutgers their first lead since the early second half, Purdue got a bucket inside to go back up one. Rutgers found Harper Jr. on the ensuing inbound with under four seconds to play and he navigated his way just past halfcourt and put up a prayer that found nothing but net.
RON HARPER AT THE BUZZER!!!!!!!!
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) December 10, 2021
It’s the first win in program history over a No. 1 ranked team, and they reacted accordingly, with fans storming the court immediately and pandemonium setting in at Jersey Mike’s Arena. For Purdue, it’s a brutal way for their undefeated season to come to a close, as they executed their final possession perfectly, but left just enough time for Harper to dart into range for a last second heave.