INDIANAPOLIS — Little is the same this year about Butler, with the notable exception Saturday of the delirious postgame scrum.
The young and retooled and struggling Bulldogs again did some unlikely court-storming, 67-65 winners over Purdue on a nationally televised last-second tip-in followed by a familiar burst of emotion.
''We're doing police escorts every game, we're doing CBS every game,'' Butler coach Brad Stevens said.
The Bulldogs (5-6) overcame an 11-point halftime deficit — not to mention a nine-point deficit with less than nine minutes to play — to end a three-game losing streak in roof-rattling fashion to open the Crossroads Classic at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Butler notched its first lead on a Chase Stigall floater with 16 seconds left, then saw Purdue's Lewis Jackson hit a free throw with 10 seconds left for a 65-65 tie. Butler's Roosevelt Jones then drove after a handoff from center Andrew Smith — who then followed down the lane to clean up Jones' miss for the winning tip-in with one second left.
"We're obviously very excited about this game,'' said Smith, who tied for the team lead with 12 points. ''We've been struggling against teams from Indiana and that's personal for us. It was important for us to come out here and play well.''
It took a while. Purdue (9-3) shot 55.6 percent in the first half, building as much as a 15-point lead. Then the Boilermakers shot just 20.7 percent (6 of 29) after halftime, tallying just one point in the final 6 minutes 40 seconds.
Purdue's Jackson, Robbie Hummel and Ryne Smith combined for 36 first-half points — and just seven after intermission.
''I thought we were the better team,'' Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said. ''But it's a 40-minute game. And we're not finishing games. That's what Butler did.''
As for a season re-defining victory for a program that reached the last two NCCA tournament finals? Not yet.
''We won a game, our record is not that much better,'' Stevens said. ''What it does do, it gets all our young guys to believe a little bit."
Butler topples Purdue 67-65 in Close the Gap Crossroads Classic
Purdue leads most of the game, but the Bulldogs battle back and win on Andrew Smith's last-second rebound basket
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