Aaron Wheeler skies above everyone on the court for a rebound. Grady Eifert is the first one on the floor to corral a loose ball. Nojel Eastern is hounding #31 for Davidson the entire way up the court. Evan Boudreaux bangs against everyone around him as he pulls in the offense rebound. Matt Haarms sets his feet and catches a charge cleanly in his chest. Ryan Cline calmly moves up the court and finds an open spot to catch and shoot a three-pointer, finding nothing but net.
Around this, Carsen Edwards eyes his defender, takes a hesitation dribble before exploding into a crossover. His defender is slow to react. Edwards rises. The ball arcs perfectly and finds twine.
The #24 Purdue Boilermakers came to Charleston as something of an unknown. Last years seniors are gone, and the returning players all had new roles to find. The Boilermakers will be leaving Charleston with an identity. After two games, they’ve established a grit and grind approach on defense, and an offense reliant on the brilliance of #3, Carsen Edwards, and a collection of pieces that compliment the junior’s brilliance.
It worked for them against Appalachian State yesterday and again today as Purdue beat Davidson 79-58 to advance to the finals of the Charleston Classic against Virginia Tech on Sunday.
Davidson, following a victory against Wichita St. on Thursday, gave Purdue a challenge early. Despite a strong shooting performance from the Boilermakers, they finished the half with only a 7 point lead as Carter Collins (7 pts.) and Luke Frampton (8 pts.) did their best to keep Davidson in the ball game.
But Purdue’s defense was too much for Davidson. Purdue held Davidson to 23-52 shooting while also making just getting into their sets difficult. Purdue forced 13 turnovers and turned it into 12 points.
Carsen Edwards continues to be the best player in Charleston, and maybe the country. For the fourth straight game he’s scored at least 23 points, this time knocking down 6 of his 11 attempts from three to score 29 points to go with his 4 rebounds and 3 assists..
Edwards continued to get help from the seniors in the starting lineup. Ryan Cline had 12 points and six rebounds. Grady Eifert continues to be one of the best glue guys in America. He only scored 5 points but had 5 rebounds and was constantly getting on the floor to grab loose balls.
Evan Boudreaux provided Coach Painter with some nice minutes on the floor, especially attacking the glass. Boudreaux grabbed 5 of his 7 rebounds rebounds on the offensive end and got to the line five times where he made all of them. He finished the game with 12 points.
Purdue will get a day of rest before moving on to the championship game in Charleston, South Carolina. They will play Virginia Tech at 8:30 on Sunday, November 18th.