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Purdue beats Vermont 80-70 to advance - Mar 17, 2017


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Caleb
Swanigan
Purdue point guard P.J. Thompson (5'10''-PG-96) dribbled across half court, smiling, and stood in a casual dribble while chatting with teammate Carsen Edwards (6'0''-PG-98). This was a new NCAA Tournament experience for the Boilermakers - the stress-free final seconds when victory is assured and March Madness extends through the weekend. Which isn't to say 4 seed Purdue's 80-70 victory over 13 seed Vermont in Thursday's Midwest Region first round at Bradley Center came easy. The Catamounts led by eight points in the first half, trailed by one at halftime and kept their upset-minded claws within reach of the Boilermakers' hearts until the final four minutes. But Vincent Edwards came alive in the second half, Caleb Swanigan (6'9''-F-97) unleashed his fury and Purdue hit timely daggers to seal their first NCAA Tournament victory since 2012. "This year we had some guys step up big time when we needed it most, and we finally got the monkey off our back," Thompson said. Purdue advances to face 5 seed Iowa State, which defeated 12 seed Nevada 84-73, in Saturday's Round of 32. Ironically, the Boilermakers could have played the Cyclones in last year's second round in Denver. They led Little Rock by 13 with three-and-a-half minutes to play before falling in double overtime. The year before, a seven-point lead in the final minute against Cincinnati vanished in an eventual overtime loss. So even after Thompson's 3-pointer with 1:48 to play provided a 76-65 lead, the Boilermakers couldn't get comfortable. Not until Swanigan rejected Trae Bell-Haynes for his third block of the final 3:05 and Dakota Mathias (6'4''-G-95) grabbed the clinching rebound did smiles begin to pop up on the faces of Purdue players. They'd waited 364 days to put those painful memories to bed. "I've been sitting in front of you all ready to cry the last two years," Edwards said. "It feels great to finally get past the first round. It's something that's been haunting us the last two years." Another block, this one by Edwards, started a fast break in the final seconds of the first half. Thompson finished it with a pull-up jumper to give Purdue a 37-36 halftime lead. Those first 20 minutes, however, were a back-and-forth struggle. Vermont, which had no bodies with which to challenge Swanigan and Isaac Haas one-on-one, clogged interior passing lanes. Purdue too often tried to force passes through that front, or made careless passes over and around it. Eight first-half turnovers negated the Boilermakers' rebounding advantage. Three of those turnovers came from Edwards. Thompson challenged him to be more assertive in the second half and attack those same situations with another approach. Edwards scored on the Boilermakers' first three possessions after halftime, setting a tone that would follow throughout the next 20 minutes. He scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half and didn't commit a turnover after halftime after committing three before. Swanigan finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting a Big Ten Conference record with his 27th double-double of the season. With about 5:40 left he grabbed an offensive rebound, started to forced up a shot through a double-team, then turned and tossed to Dakota Mathias for a 3-pointer, giving Purdue a 66-60 lead. Later he also kicked out to Thompson for a 3 with 1:57 left that put the Boilermakers up 76-65. Purdue made 5 of 10 from 3-point range and shot 45 percent overall behind the arc. "They had a decision to make, especially after we were making some, what they were going to do and where they were going to double from," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "They started coming on those doubles and those guys started kicking it out." Vermont, which came into the game with a nation-best 21-game winning streak, would not fold. The Catamounts shot 63.2 percent from the field in the second half, thwarting every Purdue attempt to separate. The early edge from the perimeter went to Vermont forwards Anthony Lamb (6'6''-F) and Payton Henson (6'8''-F-94), who hit 5 of 10 from deep in the first half. Purdue switched larger bodies onto those shooters in the second half, and Lamb and Henson score only eight points after halftime. Lamb finished with 20 points and nine rebounds. A certain relief was evident in the Boilermakers' voices following the game. However, a certain conviction was evident in their words. "It's obviously exciting, but we don't want just one win in the NCAA Tournament," Mathias said. "We've got the tools and the personnel to make a run here. We're not satisfied with one win."
Courtesy of: jconline.com   




Jeff
Reynolds
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Reid Travis
Former Stanford Forward Reid Travis Transfers to Kentucky - 2 hours ago
Reid Travis (6'8''-F-95) was the biggest fish in the transfer market this year and he has announced he is headed to Kentucky. Travis is a two-time 1st team All-Pac 12 player who just this past year averaged 19.5 points a game to go with 8.7 rebounds. After medically redshirting his sophomore year Travis had one year of eligibility remaining. He used this to become a graduate transfer after recently graduating from Stanford this past month. Travis originally declared for the NBA Draft with...   [read more]

A.J. Guyton
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