After 3 games in four days, the #23 Purdue Boilermakers were unable to overcome a second half surge by #16 Virginia Tech, and fell in the Charleston Classic Championship 89-83.
Evan Boudreuax decided to sit his entire junior year at Dartmouth to play in big tournament games. In the Charleston Classic Championship against #16 Virginia Tech he finally got his first taste, and he wasn’t wasting any time taking full advantage of it. Evan Boudreaux came into the game and immediately announced himself as a difference maker off the bench to the Boiler faithful.
In one of his first possessions, Boudreaux caught the ball on the left corner with just a few seconds left on the shot-clock. He pumped. His man bit, and he drove past his defender to the rim where he met another Virginia Tech Hokie in the chest before finishing over him. Next possession, he grabbed an offensive rebound, pumped, and drew a foul on the shot. Then he stole a pass in the paint and his outlet pass to Carsen Edwards gave Purdue their first breathing room of the game, going up 14-7.
Boudreaux would continue to make plays after Purdue’s leading scorer Carsen Edwards going to the bench. Instead of stalling, Purdue’s offense fed off its defense and Boudreaux’s play-making. He’d finish the half with 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.
The question going into the season for Purdue basketball was whether there was enough around Carsen Edwards. Today, Purdue’s role players stepped up big time. Sasha Stefanovic, after redshirting his last season, knocked down a huge momentum swinging 3 to put Purdue up 27-22.
Grady Eifert connected on two three-pointers in the first half and a lay-up on a backdoor cut off a Boudreaux bounce pass.
The Boilers finished the half with a 44-36 lead, making 7 of 15 threes while the Hokies missed a bevy of open looks on their way to 4 of 15 shooting from distance.
In the second half, Purdue went back to their star. Carsen Edwards opened up scoring in the second half off a cross-court jump ahead pass by Ryan Cline that found an open Edwards for three points.
Ryan Cline responded to a Ahmed Hill three pointer with a difficult pull-up three to push the lead back to six points before Carsen Edwards tried to blow the roof off the building at the College of Charleston TD Arena with a thunderous left-hand dunk that put Purdue up 56-51.
But Virginia Tech wasn’t gonna be intimidated by the National Player of the Year Finalist. After Edwards split two defenders to get to the rim, he left his lay-up short and the Hokies pushed the ball up the court. Alexander-Walker would connect on his first three of the game and give the Hokies their first lead since the opening minutes of the game, 58-56.
Alexander-Walker would stay hot making a three at 10:23 to give the Hokies a five point lead. A Blackshear Jr. free throw would push the lead to 64-58 and Purdue looked to their senior Ryan Cline for a response.
His three from the right corner would break a nearly 3 minute scoreless spell, his third three of the half. Cline would finish the game with 14 points on 4-10 shooting from beyond the arc. He added 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
Purdue put Virginia Tech into the bonus early. With just under 10 minutes in the second half, the Hokies were going to the line with any foul. They held a 26-11 advantage at the line for the game. Nojel Eastern, Purdue’s best defender, went to the bench with his fourth foul with more than seven minutes remaining in the game.
Sasha Stefanvic, after making his second three of the game, tried to take a charge at the other end. Despite his feet looking set, Hill got the lay-up to go and the foul, pushing the tied ball game to a three-point lead.
Justin Robinson and Carsen Edwards, battling head to head most the day, would start trading baskets. With Purdue’s best defender finally back on the court in Nojel Eastern, Purdue was able to steal a pass at half-court. Eastern saved it behind his back to the hustle Grady Eifert would gather it and then have the ball knocked off his knee after it appeared he was fouled by a Hokies player.
The ensuing possession an out of control Blackshear Jr. would drive to the basket and finish with his left hand putting Virginia Tech up 87-81 with 40 seconds left in the game. Ultimately, the lay-up would seal the game for the Hokies.
Purdue struggled to contain dribblers on the perimeter for most the game. Virginia Tech was able to get into the paint and cause Purdue’s defense to over rotate and get open looks they finally started to knock down in the second half.
Carsen Edwards had another huge night, keeping his streak of 20+ point games perfect, but at times tried to do too much. His 26 points and 7 assists was matched by 6 turnovers.
Purdue will return to West Lafayette and play host to Robert Morris on November 23rd. This will be their last warm-up before starting a difficult stretch of non-con games.