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Virginia Beat Purdue To Make The Final Four Despite A Monster Game By Carsen Edwards


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What a game. I know that’s a bad lede, but if you just saw Virginia and Purdue land haymakers for 45 minutes in the South Regional Final of the 2019 NCAA Tournament, that’s all you could probably say, too. In what will go down as one of the best March Madness games ever, the top-seeded Cavaliers overcame the third-seeded Boilermakers and star guard Carsen Edwards’ record-setting night, 80-75, in overtime.

Purdue got thermonuclear hot from deep during the first half. The Boilermakers have never been afraid to let it fly from deep, which was certainly the case early on. Matt Painter’s squad went 8-for-19 from three, including four from Edwards and a pair from Sweet 16 hero Ryan Cline. Edwards led all scorers at the break with 16 points.

Still, the Boilermakers only took a 30-29 lead into the locker room. Purdue couldn’t really get anything going inside the arc — the team went 2-for-6 on twos — while Virginia was their usual patient selves. Hoos forward Mamadi Diakite scored 10 points, while Ty Jerome had eight and canned two threes.

Virginia came out of the locker room, got a shot for Kyle Guy, and immediately snatched the lead back. The Hoos were able to keep that lead thanks to Guy hitting four threes to start the frame…

…but a fun thing that sometimes happens with Purdue is Edwards becomes hotter than the surface of the sun and decides missing would be uncool, so he makes everything. College basketball fans — and, especially, foes in the Big Ten — knew this, and on Saturday, Edwards showed a national audience what he can do.

Edwards seemed to go shot-for-shot with all of Virginia for much of the second half. It was a virtuoso performance from one of the most lethal guards in college basketball. He played a major role in the 7-0 run that gave Purdue the lead back with less than four minutes remaining, but he didn’t hit the shot to put the Boilers ahead. A missed Edwards jumper was rebounded by Nojel Eastern, who had an easy lay-in to take the lead.

Guy took the lead right back, and from there, the race to the finish was one that no one will forget any time soon. Especially when one moment on said race was Edwards banking in a three while he was absolutely smothered.

An offense rebound off a Edwards miss with the shot clock hitting zero looked to seal it, but Cline only hit one of two from the stripe to put Purdue up by three. The Boilermakers fouled to force a 1-and-1, and after Jerome hit his first, Diakite made Twitter erupt.

The overtime period wasn’t quite as frantic, but it was still edge-of-your-seat stuff. Virginia had a one-point lead heading into the final minute, at which point Edwards put his head down, got to the rim, and scored. On the following possession, Cavaliers wing De’Andre Hunter responded with a bucket at the rim of his own.

Following an Edwards miss and a pair of free throws by Guy, Purdue had one more shot. Instead of drawing up a play to get him a look, though, Edwards passed to Ryan Cline. The pair could not link up, Virginia turned it over, and following a pair of free throws from Kihei Clark, it was all over.

While Diakite — 14 points, eight rebounds, four blocks — hit the big shot, both Guy (25 points, 10 rebounds) and Jerome (24 points, seven assists, four rebounds) had monster games. On the other side, Edwards was the man of the hour, dropping 42 points on 14-for-25 shooting and a 10-for-19(!!!) clip from three. His 10 triples on Saturday and his 28 threes in the Tournament were both records.

With the win, Virginia moved one step closer to moving past the black mark that is being the only program to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history. The Hoos will go on to face either Kentucky or Auburn in the Final Four next week, and if that game is half as good as this one, we’re in for a treat.

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