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NCAA Tournament East Region: #3 Purdue 81, #6 Texas 71 - Bring on St. Peter’s

Purdue survives a thriller in Milwaukee and advanced to the Sweet 16.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-Purdue vs Texas Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve seen this before. Jaden Ivey turning the ball over. Jaden Ivey screeching down the court, fueled by frustration and the most spectacular set of rocket boosters this side of NASA, and he’s going up now, all the way, to the rim where he waits for Andrew Jones to try whatever he’s going to try - which is lay it up, but before it can even leave his fingertips Ivey is smacking it hard off the backboard.

But you’ve heard that one before. The soon to NBA star does that stuff all the time.

Have you heard of this? The Purdue Boilermakers taking on a Coach Chris Beard team in March. A Purdue team leading a Coach Beard team, this time #6 seeded Texas in Milwaukee, and like I said, Purdue’s leading his team late and Texas is hitting every three to mount a comeback, including a fouled 4-point play that cuts a ten point lead to 6.

Texas presses and keeps coming and they’ve pulled it within 3 points. The ball is bouncing all over the place, they’re reviewing it and the ball somehow is still Purdue’s. Crisis averted, for now, but there’s fifteen seconds on the shot clock and Jaden Ivey, that Jaden Ivey, has the ball and he’s dribbling it at the top of the floor. He’s going to drive. He’s already thrown one monster dunk this game, but Texas fears another.

The defender steps back, gets off balance because he’s expecting the blur, but Ivey pauses, for just a second, a tenth of a second, maybe it was no time at all, but for Purdue fans, it will last forever, or at least until Philadelphia - and maybe further.

He pauses and there’s space and he rises up and he does something he did against Ohio State and Wisconsin, but never here, not like this.

He buries it. Three points. That’s the ball game. He knows it.

Purdue goes on to win, 81-71, against Texas. Finally they vanquish Coach Beard and his talented Longhorns.

Trevion Williams has been here a long time. He was there in Louisville.

He’s here now, in Milwaukee and this game was all about Williams until it was about Ivey. Williams had 22 points, leading the team, and starting what was a furious early comeback for a Purdue team that looked a little not up to the moment to start.

Texas knew they’d struggle with Purdue’s size, but they didn’t just struggle. They got sunk. Williams was 10 of 13 and he helped foul out Beard’s best offensive weapon not named Marcus Carr on the way to his 7 rebounds and 2 assists.

Purdue’s going to the Sweet Sixteen. They’ll be playing the Cinderella #15 St. Peters. They will be heavy favorites.

It’s the most minutes Ethan Morton has played in a game since... his freshman year maybe? When he was filling in for an injured Jaden Ivey, way before the Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year was ready for college basketball. He’s ready now.

He might be Coach Painter’s best defender, and he acted like it, shutting down the opposing point guard for the second straight game. If Carr was somewhere, he was there too, all over him. He had two huge blocks, but even more, two huge three-pointers, both assists from Ivey found him twice in the corner on a night when Purdue wasn’t hitting anything, 6 of 17 from three, until they were.

When they really needing it.

Maybe it’s Ivey. Maybe it’s Tre. Maybe it’s this team.

But right now. Purdue seems to be doing exactly what they need to to win.

Two wins down, four to go.

The Boilermakers are going to the Sweet Sixteen.