March 24, 2024


by Shawn Martin
photos by: SMR
   Indianapolis Indiana – Midwest Region top seed Purdue, came out with some early game jitters, and found themselves in a dogfight with the Utah State Aggies.
   When they settled their nerves and found their rhythm, the Boilers completely dominated the final 28 minutes and ten seconds of the game and advanced to the Detroit Midwest Regional with a 106-67 win.
   After nearly twelve minutes of this NCAA Second Round game, the 8th Seeded Aggies led Purdue 24-23. Other than the two starting Boilermaker post players – Zach Edey and Trey Kaufman-Renn, who totaled 18 of the first 23 points – Purdue was stymied by Utah State’s length on the perimeter and defensive strategy.
   Kaufman-Renn scored Purdue’s first eight points as he was the beneficiary of the Aggie focus on the 7-4 Edey and the Purdue’s shooters. The reigning and probable next National Player of the Year then started to establish his dominance. Edey finished the opening twenty minutes with another routine double-double – 21 points, 11 rebounds, and tacked on three assists and two blocks.
   Kaufman-Renn scored on another field goal and had ten points at the break.
   With 8:10 left, redshirt freshman Camden Heide rebounded his own missed three-point shot and dunked to give Purdue a 25-24 lead – a lead they would not relinquish again.
   With 4:30 left in the first half, Purdue Assistant Coach/Offensive Coordinator PJ Thompson, a former Boilermaker point guard, called for a designed play. Lance Jones passed into Edey deep in the lane. The Aggie defense collapsed around Edey, who then kicked it out to freshman Myles Colvin, who nailed a three that put Purdue up 36-24.
   The rout was on!
   Matt Painter’s crew closed out the first half with a 26-9 blitzkrieg and led 49-33 as the teams headed to the bowels of Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
   Things didn’t get any better for the Aggies after the teams returned for the second half.
   Jones and Kaufman-Renn scored the first seven points of the second half, and then the floodgates opened and the vast majority of the 16,770 began to feel like this was Mackey Arena. It was rocking and rolling Black and Gold.
   Four Boilermakers scored in double figures, led by Edey’s 23 points and 14 rebounds. He played 26-1/2 minutes. Kaufman-Renn finished with 18 points and 8 boards. Loyer added 15 and six assists. Heide had ten.
   Braden Smith had early foul trouble, and that, combined with the score, limited his minutes and normal production. Smith played just under 22 minutes and had five points and six assists. Jones played well at the point while Smith sat with first half foul trouble. Jones had 9 points and four assists.
   The 106 points are the most a Boilermaker team has scored in their NCAA Tournament history. Purdue had 29 assists and only nine turnovers.
   Utah State finishes 28-7. They had five double figure scorers, led by junior forward Great Osobor with 14. Josh Uduje had 13, Darius Brown II added a dozen, while Ian Martinez contributed 11, followed by the ten of Mason Falslev. Coach Danny Sprinkle completed his first year with the Aggies after a successful run at Montana State. He may be a sought-after coach this off-season.
   Purdue (31-4) advances to Detroit where they will meet 5th Seeded Gonzaga (27-7). The Zags were 89-68 winners over 4 Seed Kansas on Saturday.
   Purdue and Gonzaga will meet Friday night in Little Ceasars Arena in Detroit (where the Detroit Pistons play their home games). Game time will be announced later tonight.
   Purdue beat Gonzaga 73-63 in the Maui Invitational in November. Seconded Seeded Tennessee (26-8) and third Seeded Creighton (25-9) will play each other at the Detroit site. Purdue also beat Tennessee in Maui, 71-67.
   The winners of both games will meet Sunday to determine who advances to the Final Four in Glendale Arizona on Saturday April 6th. The National Championship game will take place on Monday, April 8th.
(The following is courtesy of Purdue University Athletics)
  • Purdue improved to 31-4 overall with a 106-67 win over No. 8-seed Utah State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
  • The 31 wins are a school record, surpassing the 30 wins recorded by the 2017-18 team (30-7).
  • Purdue has reached the Sweet 16 for the fifth time in the last seven years, the second-most appearances in the country during that span (Gonzaga – 7). It marks the seventh trip of the Matt Painter era.
  • Purdue improved to 8-0 this season against nationally-ranked teams, winning by an average of 10.1 points per game. Purdue is 11-2 against the top 25 since the start of last season.
  • Purdue has won 19 straight games against in the regular-season and postseason against teams that are in a power-conference or nationally ranked.
  • Purdue won its first two games in the NCAA Tournament by a combined 67 points (78-50 vs. Grambling; 106-67 vs. Utah State).
  • Purdue’s 106 points are the most in any game since Nov. 2017 (106 vs. Fairfield) and the most in the NCAA Tournament in school history.
  • The 106 points are the most for a Big Ten team in an NCAA Tournament game since 1999.
  • The 39-point margin was the fourth-largest point differential in an NCAA Tournament round of 32 game and the largest margin since 1999.
  • The 39-point margin was the second-largest margin in a 1 vs. 8 matchup in NCAA Tournament history (North Carolina 112, Rhode Island 67; March 20, 1993).
  • Purdue’s 29 assists were the third most in an NCAA Tournament game in school history, and the most since 1998. Purdue committed just nine turnovers.
  • Purdue’s 55.9 field goal percentage (38-of-68) was its highest percentage in an NCAA Tournament game since 1999.
  • Purdue’s +23 (49-26) rebound margin was its largest in NCAA Tournament history.
  • Zach Edey became the first player since Lew Alcindor (1968) to have at least 50 points, 35 rebounds and shoot 65 percent from the field in the first two NCAA Tournament games. Edey has 53 points and 35 rebounds while shooting 19-of-28 (.679) from the field in the first two games.
  • Edey has scored at least 22 points in 12 straight games (26.4 PPG, 12.8 RPG).
  • Zach Edey became the first player with three straight NCAA Tournament games with at least 20 points and three blocks since Shaquille O’Neal (1991, 1992).
  • Trey Kaufman-Renn scored 18 points and tied a career-high with eight rebounds. In the two NCAA Tournament games so far this year, Kaufman-Renn has 29 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists in 46 minutes.
  • Braden Smith became the fifth player in NCAA history with 425 points, 250 assists and 200 rebounds in a season, now with 430 points, 256 assists and 200 rebounds (UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth, California’s Jason Kidd, Michigan State’s Magic Johnson).
  • Fletcher Loyer tallied 15 points and a season-high six assists. In his last seven games, Loyer is 13-of-18 (.722) from 3-point range.

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