In the end, Purdue had no answer for Tennessee’s Grant Williams whose final basket of the game with 14 seconds left gave him 22 points on the night and the Volunteers a 1 point lead.
After P. J. Thompson missed an open mid-range look in retaliation, Purdue would foul and eventually fall 78-75, to the unranked Volunteers.
The Boilers would jump out early against Tennessee, but a 9-0 run to end the first half by Tennessee would tie the game at 31. Tennessee would start the second half scoring 7 more points and Purdue found themselves for the first time this year really tested.
They did not pass.
Purdue’s rebounding problems showed up again. Tennessee grabbed twenty offensive rebounds and had 21 second chance points. They out rebounded the Boilers 50-41.
Despite this, Purdue had plenty of chances to win and put the game away. The Boilers had a 63-60 lead with with 18 seconds left after two Carsen Edwards free throws. Lamonte Turner would get open on a pull-up 3 in the corner and tied it with 5 seconds left. Carsen’s pull-up as time expired looked good, but bounced harmlessly off the front of the rim.
After allowing an early basket in overtime, Dakota Mathias had a personal 7-0 run in less than a minute. He hit a three on the move, stripped the ball and finished on a tough lay-up, and then cleaned up a transition dunk attempt by Carsen Edwards that was blocked. It put Purdue up 5 points with 3:34 in the game.
But Purdue had no answer for Grant Williams who isolated against Vincent in the post and at the elbows, over and over again late in the game. Williams scored six of his 22 points in overtime.
Purdue played sloppy, adding to their problems on the glass, they turned the ball over 18 times and didn’t knock down enough shots from beyond the arc to make up for it. They made just 10 of their 27 three’s after coming into the game as one of the best shooting teams in the nation.
Carsen Edwards led Purdue with 21 points, but was just 5 of 17 from the field. The other Edwards struggled even more on offense, knocking down just 3 of his 13 shots on his way to 11 points. P.J. Thompson made 3 of his 4 deep shots, but missed a last second shot from the mid-range that would have given Purdue a one point lead. Dakota Mathias had 15 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 3 steals.
All four of those players had at least 3 turnovers a piece.
Purdue’s big men were unable to really get going on offense. Isaac Haas had 15 points and made 8 of his 9 free throws, but also had 4 turnovers and struggled defensively and had only 3 rebounds. Matt Haarms continues to be an effective defensive replacement with 2 blocks and a steal, but battled foul trouble.
The only thing that kept Purdue in the game was incredible foul shooting. They made 21 of their 25 free throw attempts.
There’s no sugar-coating this one. This loss hurts for a top-20 Purdue team that wanted to show they were for real. Tennessee’s athleticism ran the boards tonight, and Purdue struggled to get into an offensive flow for most the game.
Now, instead of a potential match-up against Villanova for a chance to play in the championship game, they’ll have to settle for the loser of Western-Kentucky and Villanova on Thanksgiving.