LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Purdue is going to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight for the first time since 2000.
The third-seeded Boilermakers beat second-seeded Tennessee, 99-94 in overtime in the first South Regional semifinal Thursday night at the KFC Yum! Center. They will play Virginia on Saturday night at 8:49 p.m. looking to earn the program’s first Final Four berth in nearly 40 years.
Purdue needed two free throws from Carsen Edwards with 1.7 seconds left in regulation to force the extra time after blowing an 18-point second half lead.
Ryan Cline hit a jumper to put the Boilers up 51-33 less than four minutes into the second before the Volunteers began a furious rally, capped off by an Admiral Schofield three-pointer to give them the lead with just over five minutes to play.
Purdue took the lead in overtime on a Matt Haarms free throw and never looked back, stretching the lead to eight with just under a minute left.
Edwards led the way with 29 points, becoming the first player to score 25 or more points in four straight NCAA games since Steph Curry did it with Davidson in 2008. Cline set a new career-high with 27 points, going 7 of 10 from three-point range.
Just like they did against Villanova in the second round, the Boilers got off to a hot start. They used a 10-0 run to take control midway through the first half. Schofield missed a dunk on one end of the floor, leading to a fast break capped off by a thunderous Aaron Wheeler slam on the other for a 23-13 lead.
Purdue went up by as many as 15 points in the first and led 40-28 at halftime, the Vols’ biggest deficit at the break all season long.
The win was Purdue head coach Matt Painter’s first win in the Sweet 16 after going 0-4. The Boilers had lost in the regional semifinal round the last two seasons.
Purdue last made the Final Four in 1980 at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, the first time the city hosted the NCAA’s premier event.