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March 14, 2008? MORE: Rivals.com Daily Bubble Watch | Drive for 65: Forecasting the Field | Play Tourney Pick'em
"We lost this game because Demetri McCamey was special."
McCamey scored 26 points, and Illinois beat No. 17 Purdue 74-67 in overtime Friday. The freshman guard made 9 of 14 field goals and all six of his 3-point shots for the 10th-seeded Fighting Illini.
McCamey left Purdue's collective stomachs and NCAA tournament seed sinking.
"Every time he made a big shot, you just get that bad feeling inside you like, 'Dang, he made another one,"' Purdue guard E'Twaun Moore said. "We just needed to stop it, and we didn't."
Illinois (15-18) got off to a slow start this season, but now have won four of five.
"It's sad we couldn't do this earlier, but this is the time to do it," Pruitt said. "To close out a win like this - it was such a team effort."
Moore scored 22 points and Robbie Hummel added 10 points and 11 rebounds for second-seeded Purdue.
Illinois advanced to the semifinals for the 10th time in 11 Big Ten tournaments. Purdue (24-8), which had its highest seed ever, won 12 of 13 before the loss.
The Illini led 67-66 in overtime when Mike Davis got a perfect pass from McCamey and scored on a backdoor cut to make it 69-66. On Illinois' next possession, Davis rebounded McCamey's miss and scored on an acrobatic putback to make it 71-66 with a minute left.
Purdue never made another basket. The Boilermakers missed their last 12 shots, including all 10 field goals in overtime.
Purdue led 60-58 late in the second half when Kramer scored on a drive, was fouled and converted the 3-point play to put the Boilermakers up 63-58 with 1:12 to play.
Pruitt scored and was fouled by Hummel at the other end with 45 seconds left, but he missed the free throw and Hummel rebounded with Purdue ahead 63-60.
Purdue guard Chris Kramer was called for a travel with 31 seconds left to give Illinois (15-18) a chance to tie. He wasn't sure if the call was correct.
"To be honest, I have no idea," he said. "I just caught it, and then I don't know if I really traveled or not. I just dribbled and then they called traveling."
McCamey made a 3-pointer over Kramer with 18 seconds to play to make the score 63-all. Kramer took the shot personally.
"I'm the Big Ten defensive player of the year for a reason," he said. "I can't let that happen."
Kramer's mid-range jumper rimmed out as time expired, and the game went to overtime.
Illinois shot a season-high 61.2 percent.
"I would like to say I drew something up, but it was just good ball movement, good spacing and getting it to the right people at the right time," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said.
Purdue had beaten Illinois twice in the regular season, but Painter knew that wouldn't matter.
"I felt this game was going to be one of those grinders and become a possession game," he said. "I thought we did a pretty good job of putting ourselves in position to win."
Moore said the Boilermakers will learn from the loss.
"We know it's tournament time and it's a new season in the tournament," he said. "That taught us a lesson tonight - every team is going to come ready to play in the tournament and we've got to take it up another level."
Weber said he's glad his team is still playing. Only a tournament title will extend Illinois' season.
"I'm just happy we're able to find a way to win a game, play another day and get to enjoy the season."