The Rutger Scarlet Knights came into the Big Ten Tournament with one pass to the NCAA tournament: win 5 straight games. They beat Minnesota in their first tournament game. Then, they conquered IU in front of a home(ish) crowd. They were looking to make it a third against the #3 seed and # 8 team in the country Purdue Boilermakers, but the collective Edwardi was too much for Corey Sanders and Geo Baker and Purdue held on to a 82-75 victory.
When Purdue needed to close out the game, it was Carsen and Vincent Edwards that stepped and made free throws. The two were there to answer the call the entire game.
Carsen finished the game with 26 points on 6 of 14 shooting, but made 10 of his 11 free throw attempts. Vincent still struggling with a bum ankle, had 26 points as well, making 10 of his 14 shots. His lone 2 free throw attempts helped seal a victory that was in double most of the game.
Rutgers led the entire first half, but when Purdue took the lead early in the second half, they never relinquished it, despite Rutgers fighting the entire night on the offensive glass. Geo Baker had one of his best games, scoring 25 points on 20 shots. Corey Sanders continued his excellent season, scoring 23 points and going 11 of 20 on high-difficulty shots.
But Purdue got just enough from their leaders. Dakota Mathias inched closer to the school’s all-time 3-point record, knocking down three attempts for 9 points to go with a game-high 7 assists to just 1 turnover. PJ Thompson had just 6 points, but they came at big times, knocking down two big three-pointers.
Isaac Haas had his second double-double of the year with 12 points and 10 rebounds. But Rutgers had their way on the offensive glass. Their 17 offensive rebounds led to 20 2nd chance points and kept the Scarlet Knights fighting throughout.
Purdue’s rebounding issues continue, but they came out with better energy in the second half. They forced Rutgers into tough jumpers, and made just enough plays to advance to the semi-finals of the Big Ten Tournament.
Purdue will now play the #7 seed Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament after the Nittany Lions upset Ohio State for the third time this year.
The tip-off will be 4:30 in Madison Square Garden.