Purdue outlasted Tennessee in an instant classic Sweet 16 game to advance in the NCAA tournament. The Boilermakers took home a 99-94 overtime victory on Thursday night to become the first team to punch their ticket to the Elite Eight.
There were wild swings in momentum all night in front of a rabid Louisville crowd. Both teams were red hot from three-point range, but couldn’t make a free throw. The final seconds of regulation featured a big dunk, a foolish foul, and a botched inbounds play that led to overtime.
There might not be a better game the rest of the NCAA tournament. This is everything that made third-seeded Purdue’s victory over No. 2 Tennessee a game no one will forget anytime soon.
Purdue led this game by 18 points in the second half
Tennessee held a 25-point in its last game against Iowa before blowing it and needing to win in overtime. This time, Tennessee was the team that needed a comeback. Purdue took a 12-point lead into halftime and led by as many as 18 points in the second half.
That’s when Tennessee started its run.
The Volunteers hit 12-of-24 attempts from three-point range on the night. Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams each had 21 points to lead the Vols. Jordan Bowden (16 points) and Lamonte Turner (15 points) were also excellent.
Purdue’s Ryan Cline caught fire
America: meet Ryan Cline. The Purdue senior couldn’t miss from three-point range and briefly had sports fans around the country talking about him.
Cline hit 7-of-10 three-pointers on the night. Without his shooting, Tennessee would have ran away with the game in regulation.
None of Cline’s shots were more impressive than this one that tied the game with 36 seconds left. Just filthy:
Cline finished the night with 27 points before fouling out in overtime. He was spectacular and Purdue owes him a thank you for staying alive in this tournament.
Neither team could make free throws
In what was an otherwise thrilling game, Purdue-Tennessee featured terrible free throw shooting on both sides.
Tennessee ended the night 14-of-28 from the foul line. Purdue was even worse, hitting 16-of-33 free throws, or 48.5 percent. This is a crazy stat:
Purdue and Tennessee have made a combined 28 free throws tonight … and 27 3-pointers.
— Jeff Greer (@jeffgreer_) March 29, 2019
The end of regulation was a frenzy
Try to keep up.
Purdue’s Carsen Edwards drove the length of the court and was stuffed. Ball was out on Tennessee, so the Boilermakers inbounded under the basket. As Edwards shot a three from the corner, Tennessee was called for a foul and Edwards got three free throws with a chance to win the game:
Upon further review … The foul call that gave Carsen Edwards three free throws at the close of regulation should never have been awarded. Terrible foul call. pic.twitter.com/hGklaoBXlZ
— Kyle Boone (@Kyle__Boone) March 29, 2019
Looks like a legit foul to me.
Edwards missed the first but made the next two. Tennessee had one more chance with under two seconds left inbounding the ball the length of the court. The Vols tried to throw two passes before calling a timeout to set up a last second attempt, but too much time ticked away and they were left with only 0.1 second remaining. The game went to overtime.
Purdue pulled away in OT
After erasing the huge deficit to force overtime, Tennessee just didn’t have enough gas left for the extra five minutes. Purdue took the lead and never relinquished it. This basket iced it for the Boilermakers.
Edwards finished with 29 points for Purdue. As a team, the Boilermakers hit 15-of-31 threes. That’s what it took to make Tennessee the first top-two seed eliminated from the tournament in the Sweet 16.
Purdue is still dancing. What a beautiful game.