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Tennessee v Purdue

Source: Gregory Shamus / Getty

[Detroit, MI]- Top seeded Purdue is heading to the Final Four.

Purdue eliminated (2) Tennessee 72-66 in the Elite Eight in route to their first Final Four appearance since 1980.

A majority of the game was a back and forth battle between the Boilermakers and Volunteers. After Braden Smith tied the game 17-17 near the halfway point in the first half, Zach Edey put Purdue ahead 19-17. Tennessee’s Josiah Jordan-James gave the Vols a one-point lead after at 20-19.

After a short 6-0 run, Smith cut the lead to two at 23-21. After regaining a four point lead at 25-21, Zakai Ziegler was sent to the free throw line out of the under six media timeout. Zeigler would go 1-2 from the line. Tennessee got their first double digit lead with 5:12 remaining in the half at 32-21. However, Purdue went on a 13-0 run, giving Purdue a 34-32 lead with forty-seven seconds left in the half. Dalton Knecht tied the game at thirty-four, but Edey put Purdue back ahead before the break at 36-34.

The second half was similar to the first in the open stage. Purdue and Tennessee would go back and forth exchanging leads, but the Boilers would eventually come out on top 41-40. Near the middle of the second half, Purdue would go on a 7-0 run, leading 54-46.

Tennessee would tie the game with 5:42 left at 58-58. With 4:42 left, Zach Edey went to the free throw line, where he went 1-2. Holding onto a one-point lead late, Edey again went to the line. This time, he was a perfect 2-2, giving Purdue a 61-58 lead. After Knecht cut the game to one, Purdue would go on an 8-0 run.

The Vols would not go down without a fight. Knecht cut the game to five with sixteen seconds remaining, but a missed three with ten seconds left put the dagger into the comeback. Fletcher Loyer dribbled the remaining time out and Purdue was off to the Final Four.

It was a big day for Zach Edey. The 7’4″ Center posted 40 points and 16 rebounds in the win. Edey went 13-21 from the field and converted fourteen of his twenty-two free throws. Fletcher Loyer scored fourteen for Purdue, the only other Boiler in double figures. Braden Smith had seven assists.

Purdue shot 45.3% from the field, 20% from three, and 63.6% from the free throw line. The Boilers hauled in 47 rebounds in the win and had 40 points in the paint. They turned the ball over ten times.

Purdue now meets (11) North Carolina State in the Final Four in Pheonix on Saturday, April 4th. The Boilers are looking for their first NCAA Tournament Championship appearance since 1969.

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