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  • Purdue's Carsen Edwards (3) puts up a shot past Virginia's Mamadi Diakite (25) during the second half of the men's NCAA Tournament college basketball South Regional final game, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Saturday, March 30, 2019 11:22 pm

Purdue falls to Virginia, 80-75, comes up short of Final Four

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

LOUISVILLE, Ky. –

How it Happened

Virginia is probably the best defensive team in the country, but for the first 10 minutes tonight, Purdue played like it didn't matter. The Boilermakers hit their first four shots from the field and 7 of 10 to open the game from beyond the 3-point line. 

Carsen Edwards and Ryan Cline once again led the charge, hitting six 3s combined in the first half to help the Boilermakers to a halftime lead. Cline hit his first two shots, both from beyond the arc, making it 10 straight field goals he'd made going back to the Tennessee game and driving the Purdue crowd into a frenzy in the early going. Virginia's defense was excellent as usual, but the Boilermakers were sublime in their movement without the ball and were able to get open looks for their best shooters. When Aaron Wheeler hit a 3 with 9:46 left in the half, the Boilers went in front 22-12 and Virginia was reeling.

The rest of the half was a different story, however. The Boilermakers went cold from the field, missing eight of their last nine 3-point attempts, and the Cavaliers closed the gap. Purdue was unable to get anything going to the basket and had just two points in the paint in the first half. Those two came in the first minute on a Matt Haarms jump hook. 

Virginia wasn't great offensively, but the Cavaliers scored enough, especially off of offensive rebounds to cut into their deficit. By halftime, the Boilermakers' lead was just 30-29 despite Virginia shooting only 2 for 12 from beyond the arc.

Kyle Guy put his team in front for the first time with back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second half, part of a game-turning 13-4 run that left the Cavaliers with a 41-34 lead. 

The Cavaliers continued to hum on offense and the only way Purdue was able to stay close was because Edwards went supernova from the field. The junior guard hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions midway through the half to draw the Boilermakers back within four. The last of those came on a pull-up from 25 feet and left Guy shaking his head and laughing as he inbounded the ball. On the other end, the Indianapolis native answered with a 3 of his own, his fourth of the half and put his finger to his lips to quiet the crowd. The shot pushed Virginia in front 53-46 with 11:36 to go.

The Boilermakers kept pushing and Edwards seemingly wouldn't let them lose. The final few minutes were neck-and-neck and Edwards banked in a 3 with 1:10 left to give the Boilermakers a 69-67 lead. It looked like the Boilers would win, but in the closing seconds, Mamadi Diakite took a long pass and lofted up a shot from 12 feet and it found the net as the buzzer sound, knotting the game at 70 and sending it to overtime.

Overtime

In the overtime, the teams again see-sawed and Virginia went in front 76-75 with 28 seconds left when De'Andre Hunter drove to the hoop and scored with the left hand. On the ensuing Purdue possession, Edwards tried a 3 and this one missed. The Boilermakers had one more chance, but a pass by Edwards was tipped off Cline out of bounds and the Cavaliers survived. Purdue went home in the most heartbreaking way imaginable.

Player of the Game: Carsen Edwards

Even in defeat, Edwards was unreal for the second time in three games. He single-handedly willed Purdue back into the game in the second half and finished with a career-high-tying 42 points and a career-best 10 3-pointers on 19 attempts. He hit six of those 3-pointers in the second half and extended his all-time Purdue record for 3s to 281. He pushed his Purdue record for NCAA Tournament points to 223 and scored 25-plus points for the fifth straight tournament game.

Facts and Figures

The Boilermakers have not reached the Final Four since 1980 and have only been twice in their history. ... Purdue is 2-3 all-time in Elite Eight games. ... The last time Purdue was in the Elite Eight, in 2000, the Boilers lost to a Wisconsin team coached by Dick Bennett. Bennett is the father of Virginia coach Tony Bennett. The younger Bennett was a manager on that Badgers team. ... Fort Wayne native and Bishop Dwenger graduate Grady Eifert had three rebounds and two assists in his final game at Purdue. Eifert and fellow senior  Cline won a Purdue record 109 games in four seasons with the Boilers. ... Virginia came in No. 1 in the country scoring defense, giving him 54.8 points per game. ... The Cavaliers' Guy was the 2016 Indiana Mr. Basketball out of Lawrence Central in Indianapolis and was AAU teammates with Cline. He led the Cavaliers with 25 points and hit five 3s. ... Purdue went 14 for 32 from beyond the 3-point line.

What's Next?

The 121st season of Purdue basketball is over.

dsinn@jg.net