Purdue jumped out to a huge lead early on. The tandem of Carsen Edwards and Ryan Cline was raining threes down from on high pushing Purdue to a lead of as much as 17 and it appeared that this would be the rare conference road game that was decided by halftime and would be a no stress affair. But, as Lee Corso would say,
Suddenly Penn State began to hit their threes. This is a Penn State team that prior to tonight were shooting 31.3% from three point range. Tonight against Purdue they shot 41.4%, a full 10% better than their average, from three and it was that, and the free throw disparity throughout regulation, that kept them in the game. Penn State took their first lead of the game with less than a minute to play in regulation but Carsen Edwards found an open lane to tie the game. Thanks to a Nojel Eastern block of the final shot the game headed to overtime where Purdue absolutely dominated. Interesting note, this was the third game in a row at the Bryce Jordan Center between these teams that has gone into overtime. Purdue has won all three.
John Wooden Memorial Player of the Game (JWMPOTG): It would be easy to give this to Carsen Edwards, who scored 38 points in 41 minutes or Ryan Cline who scored 20 points on 6-8 shooting in 41 minutes, but tonight I’m giving this to Trevion Williams. He was only able to score 17 minutes due to some foul trouble but the man came up big in overtime with 4 points and some great defense. The evolution of Trevion from a bench warmer to a starter and integral part of this team has been phenomenal to watch.
There’s no real way to fully explain the game we all just watched. To explain the frustration and desperation you feel as a fan as you begin to see the Purdue lead rise to 17 and then slowly fall into single digits until it completely vanishes. To illustrate the futility Purdue faced at 6:16 Ryan Cline hit a three to put Purdue up 40-24. With :05 left in the first half Penn State scored a bucket to make the score 47-44. Penn State had gone on a 20-7 run. Luckily for Purdue with just :05 left and the ball Aaron Wheeler strode confidently to 3⁄4 court and drained a three pointer off the backboard to give Purdue a 50-44 lead at halftime.
The second half was more frustration for Purdue as the lead bounced around from five to four to eight to six to five to two but Purdue never gave up the lead. With the JWMPOTG on the bench Purdue had no answer for Penn State down low, man that sounds weird, and on the boards as Penn State got fat off second chance points and at the free throw line. Penn State took the lead with :58 left in the game and after trading empty possessions the Penn State defense suddenly forgot to cover the most dynamic scorer in the conference as Carsen Edwards soared to the bucket with ease. After Nojel blocked the game winning shot attempt we were headed to overtime.
Purdue started overtime with six straight points and never looked back. In fact, if Purdue had just stopped right there it still would’ve been enough. Penn State could only manage five points the entirety of the overtime. For the third straight game at Bryce Jordan Purdue crawled away with an overtime victory.
- Free throws were a huge part of this game. In the first half Purdue went 2-2 from the free throw line and Penn State was 10-14. The final tally saw Penn State go 30-41 from the line with Purdue going 19-21 with seven of those free throws coming in overtime. At the end of regulation Purdue was just 12-14 from the line against 27-35 for Penn State. Quite the disparity.
- Ryan Cline and Carsen Edwards combined to go 14-22 from three. Cline himself was 6-7. Quite the game.
- 84-77, 74-70, and 99-90. Those are the scores of the last three games between these two teams at Penn State. That’s a combined score of 257-237. Pretty dang close.
A win is a win is a win. Every win is beautiful. It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Pick your cliche. Whichever you choose just remember that Purdue is now 15-6 and 8-2 in conference play. Purdue’s shot at the Big Ten title remains intact. There’s a lot to work on but anytime you win a conference game on the road you’ve gotta be happy.