For a while, it felt like a typical Purdue game in the tournament. Not only did Nojel Eastern injure his ankle in pregame, preventing him from playing in the 1st half, but it looked like Purdue was poised to give up their double digit lead as Old Dominion cut it to single digits in the final minutes of the game.
Nevertheless, Nojel came back, and Purdue won by double digits as ODU could not hit a shot to close the lead. Purdue now faces the defending national champions, Villanova, on Saturday. Villanova had their own struggles today, narrowly beating St. Mary’s in the first game this evening in Hartford, and are now the only Big East team remaining in the tournament.
Now, onto some Fast Break Points from this game:
- We had a mix of Good Carsen, Bad Carsen today. Carsen Edwards finished with 26 points, but went 7-23 from the floor, and 4-12 from beyond the arc. However, he was able to hit some timely and deep threes during some of Purdue’s runs, and was able to get to the free throw line a few times, getting 8 of his 26 points from the charity stripe.
- Ryan Cline had a not so great game. Cline finished a paltry 1-11 from 3, and remains 2 short of having 100 3-pointers this season. Cline did finish with 7 defensive rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 turnover. So not a good game, but not an absolutely terrible one either once you look at his other contributions.
- Eric Hunter Jr. played well in place of Nojel in the starting line up. While he may not have lit up the stat sheet, he provided a calm presence in Nojel’s absence. Plus he had a great lob to...
- Aaron Wheeler finished with 7 points and a great dunk from Hunter. However, he had to sit out for most of the latter half of the 2nd half with four fouls. This may have contributed to Old Dominion’s late run, as Wheeler was a great presence on the court. Of course, ODU’s run got a kick start when...
- Matt Haarms finished with 13 points, a few dunks, but an untimely technical foul call as he showed too much emotion after being charged with a foul on the defensive end. That resulted in 4 points for ODU that sparked their late run. But after that T, Haarms got a dunk on the other end and played smart the rest of the game.
- Purdue were 12.5 favorites going into this game. They won by 13. How many people did we piss off in Vegas tonight?
- Cline and Grady Eifert now have 107 career wins at Purdue, tying JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore for the school record.
This was, overall, an ugly game for Purdue. ODU could not hit their shots as the game came to close, which helped Purdue hold off another first round upset. Purdue now gets a days rest before facing Villanova, who also had an ugly game today in their first round match up.
But this is the NCAA tournament. What matters is that you survive, win, and advance, no matter how ugly it is.