Welcome back, Brandon Newman.
The redshirt sophomore pulled a John Hart as Purdue became the only higher seed to win on Friday in the Big Ten Tournament. Newman had played only five minutes across two games, both on mop up duty, since January 23rd at home against Northwestern. He had taken just one shot and hadn’t scored. With the Boilers struggling offensively and with Sasha Stefanovic picking up his second foul early Matt Painter went to Newman with 5:52 left in the first half.
Newman hit all four of his field goal attempts, including two threes, and finished 12 points. It was his first double figure scoring game since finishing with 13 against Florida State. Even better, he added a couple of rebounds and an assist. More importantly, he was a huge spark for Purdue on both ends of the floor.
This was the best Purdue has looked in a while. The offense wasn’t consistent, a 12 point lead shrank to one with two minutes and change left, but Purdue’s defense, a sore spot all season, delivered. It got key stops, it got five big steals, and it recovered from a slow start to hassle Penn State all night.
Your key play came with less than a minute to go and Purdue clinging to a three point lead. Purdue had already survived a wide open three missed by Dallion Johnson, but Trevion Williams airmailed a hook shot to give the Nittany Lions another chance. He would get a block, then a missed second chance shot went to midcourt and was chased down by Jaden Ivey, who streaked to the other end for a huge basket to give Purdue a five point lead with 44 seconds left.
While consistency was an issue, Purdue looked like PURDUE again for the first time in weeks during long stretches of play. Williams had a big game and Purdue was +18 with him on the floor. We got bench contributions. Zach Edey was big for stretches. It was great to see.
Purdue will now face Michigan State in tomorrow’s semifinal. The Boilers are now the highest seed remaining in the tournament.