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Purdue dug itself an early hole in its men’s basketball game against Atletas Kaunas on Sunday in MonteCatini, Italy. However, despite a second half rally, the Boilermakers fell 82-79 and are currently 1-1 in their four-game exhibition tour of Italy.
With the score tied at 79 and less than 15 seconds remaining, Purdue guard D.J. Byrd had a lay-in attempt rim out and the Lithuanian professional squad grabbed the rebound and advanced the ball up the court. Atletas got an open look from the left wing and drained a three-point shot for the game-winning shot.
Byrd got a three-point attempt off before the buzzer to try and force a tie, but the shot was short.
Purdue trailed by nine points at halftime, however, it opened the second half on a 16-3 run. With 5:35 remaining in the third quarter, Fort Wayne native Rapheal Davis threw down a dunk gave the Boilermakers their first lead since the opening quarter.
Davis finished with three points and four rebounds in 12 minutes of action.
The teams battled tightly from that point on.
Redshirt freshman Donnie Hale had his second consecutive strong outing in the loss. Hale opened the tour by producing a double-double and on Sunday, he scored a team-high 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting (.727). The New Albany native also added five rebounds and a block.
Brothers Terone and Ronnie Johnson each scored 10 points in the defeat, while Ronnie Johnson also led Purdue with three assists and four steals. Terone chipped in with three steals of his own to go along with three rebounds. The Boilermakers also got eight points from sophomore guard Anthony Johnson and seven from Byrd.
The family of Boilermaker center Sandi Marcius traveled from Croatia to watch the game and he didn’t disappoint them. The junior finished with six points and 14 rebounds in front of his family, who traveled from Croatia to attend the game.
Byrd, Davis, junior forward Travis Carroll, sophomore forward Jacob Lawson and freshman center A.J. Hammons each posted four boards in a balanced Purdue rebounding effort. The Boilermakers collected 27 offensive rebounds as a team, getting eight from Marcius and four apiece from Carroll, Hale and Lawson.
Despite shooting just over 40 percent from the field as a team, Purdue was 19-of-26 from the free throw line.
The Boilermakers will travel to Venice today and will face Vicenza All-Star on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) at the Palasport on Via Manzoni Creazzo.