In the best game of the NCAA tournament, the Virginia Cavaliers topped the Purdue Boilermakers 80-75 to advance to UVA’s first Final Four since 1984.
The crowd dramatically favored the Boilermakers, which was to be expected as West Lafayette is signifcantly closer (three hours to Charlottesville’s 7.5).
Purdue won the tip and Cline picked up where he left off against Tennessee with a big three. Despited a valiant effort from Grady Eifert to sell a flop in the post, Diakite backed his man down and got a jumper to go to make it a one point game. Haarms returned the favor on the other end in the paint to give Purdue a 5-2 lead, but a strong drive in the lane from Jerome ended with a bucket off the glass.
Edwards got on the board with a three to put the Boilermakers up 8-4 with 17:53 left in the half. Another Diakite bucket was answered with an Edwards three, but Guy hit a step-back long two to make it 11-8. The first miss for either team came on the next possession as Edwards couldn’t get one to go, but Jerome’s three with two seconds left in the shot clock caromed off the stanchion. Purdue hauled in the rebound, but Eifert and Edwards ran into each other and Hunter came away with the ball and foul (on Eifert).
Guy’s three ball wouldn’t fall, but another big grab from Hunter found Diakite for a monster dunk and a one point game. Two empty possessions for Purdue — sandwiched around a transition three attempt from Jerome — gave Virginia a chance to take its first lead, but Hunter’s jumper sailed wide. Cline got another three to go with a hand in his face and two seconds on the shot clock to put Purdue up 14-10 with 13:45 to play.
Hunter got on the scoreboard with a two through contact, and a huge block from Diakite gave the ball back to the Hoos down just two. Virginia couldn’t capitalize, and Aaron Wheeler appeared to get another three to go for the Boilermakers as the shot clock horn sounded. After a review, the bucket was waived off for the shot clock violation.
Virginia couldn’t tie the game up after Guy’s drive to the bucket rolled off the rim, and Eric Hunter Jr. hit Purdue’s fifth three of the half to put the crowd favorites up 17-12 with 11:12 to play. Two free throws from Edwards gave the Boilermakers a seven-point lead, and Key’s three attempt sailed long. The two squads traded turnovers, and Wheeler’s three attempt gave Purdue a double-digit lead with 9:46 remaining.
Guy drew a foul shooting three and made two of the free throws to cut the lead back to 22-14. Purdue finally missed a shot, and Diakite’s fourth bucket of the half cut the deficit to six. Edwards hit the Boilermakers’ seventh three of the first half (on 10 attempts) to make it 25-16 with just under eight minutes to play.
Clark found Jerome off of a screen for a much needed three — Virginia’s first of the game — to make it 25-19, and Edwards missed on the other end to give the Hoos the ball back. Jerome tried to get his second straight three to drop, but it went off the rim and harmlessly to Purdue. Virginia went on a fouling spell with a questionable call on Jerome negating a steal and Clark getting called for his second.
Purdue was unable to take advantage of the extended possession as Haarms passed it harmlessly out of bounds. Jerome’s floater in the lane wouldn’t connect, but, after a miss from Cline, Salt cut the Purdue lead to four with a shot off the glass. Jerome canned another three to cut the deficit to one with 4:47 to play, but Edwards cut into the lane and hit a jumper to make it 27-24.
Hunter responded with a jumper of his own, and another three from Edwards returned the Purdue lead to four points with 3:44 to play. Two misses from three from Purdue were answered with a miss from beyond the arc from Diakite, but the Hoos came up strong defensively.
Guy appeared to roll his ankle with 2:09 left in the first half and had to leave the court. Salt was fouled on an offensive rebound and put back attempt, and the senior big man made one of two at the line to cut the deficit back to three. Edwards couldn’t get a three to drop, and another offensive rebound by the Hoos led to a Diakite layup to make it 30-29 with one minute left in the half.
After a huge defensive stand, the Hoos held for the last shot of the first half. A foul by Hunter Jr. gave Virginia just 1.1 seconds to inbounds the ball, and Diakite was unable to get a long two to fall as the Hoos headed into the half down 30-29. Being down one at the break was frankly remarkable considering Purdue shot 8-for-18 (42%) from three in the first half, while Virginia shot just 2-for-12 (17%).
Diakite led the Hoos with 10 points in the first half on 5-for-8 shooting, and Jerome added eight points. Clark was sound with the ball, dishing out four assists, and Virginia only had one turnover in the first half. Virginia shot 41% from the field in the first half, and dominated Purdue 14-2 in points in the paint and 7-3 in second chance points.
Edwards led Purdue with 16 points on a blistering 4-for-8 mark from beyond the arc, and the Boilermakers had good ball control themselves with just three turnovers.
Guy started out the half with a three off of a screen to give Virginia their first lead of the game at 32-30. Haarms was met by Salt and Diakite down low, leaving his shot short off the rim, but Jerome was unable to extend Virginia’s lead as his floater didn’t connect. Another three from Guy put Virginia up 35-30, but Purdue’s first bucket of the second half — a two from Nojel Eastern — cut the Hoos’ lead to three.
Jerome put Virginia up 38-32 with an old-fashioned three-point play with 16:47 left in the game as the Hoos started the half 3-for-4 from the field. Virginia baited Haarms into a three that clanged harmlessly off the rim, but Diakite’s shot wouldn’t go and led to a transition bucket by Eastern — the first for either team.
Virginia took a seven-point lead on Guy’s third three of the second half, but Haarms got a tough shot over Salt to fall just outside the paint. Diakite drew Edwards’s third foul of the game with 14:39 to play, and made both to give Virginia a 43-36 lead. Wheeler attempted a huge dunk that went off the back of the rim, but Diakite was called for a foul. He made just one of the free throws, cutting the lead to six briefly as Hunter tipped in a miss from Jerome to make it 45-37.
Edwards hit Purdue’s first three of the second half to cut into the deficit, but Jerome answered with one of his own. The next 1:19 of game play went like this:
- Deep Edwards three (48-43, Virginia)
- Salt tip-in (50-43, Virginia)
- Deep Edwards three (50-46, Virginia)
- Guy three (53-46, Virginia)
Williams managed to get a tough jumper to fall in the lane, making it a five point game, and a long two from Edwards cut Virginia’s lead to 53-50 with 10:47 left to play. Jerome drew a foul in the lane, much to the ire of the pro-Purdue crowd. He made both, and Edwards finally missed a shot. Purdue appeared to have the rebound, but Guy poked it free to give the Hoos the ball.
On the offensive end, Guy got a little too fancy with the ball and turned it over, leading to a run-out basket for Hunter Jr. and a three-point game once again. Guy and Edwards traded threes, before the duo traded misses and Williams was called for a foul going for the offensive board. Salt’s shot missed, leading to a bucket down low for Williams and a one point game with just over seven minutes to play.
Jerome answered in a huge manner with a deep three, putting Virginia up 61-57. Diakite’s third block of the game reset Purdue with 10 seconds left on the shot clock, and Salt got in the way of a pass inside to create a turnover. Hunter’s shot wouldn’t fall, but Guy climbed a ladder for the offensive rebound and put back for a six-point lead.
Right on cue, Edwards hit his ninth three of the game to keep the pressure on with 5:32 to play. Jerome’s three wouldn’t fall, giving Purdue a chance to tie the game. Edwards used his speed to drive the lane and cut the lead to one, and Guy’s pull up from the free throw line rattled off the rim.
Purdue retook the lead with 3:59 to play on a put back from Eastern on an Edwards miss, giving the Boilermakers a slim 64-63 advantage. Guy returned the lead to Virginia with a lay-in off of an in-bounds play, but a foul on Clark sent Edwards to the line for a 1-and-1. He made both, putting Purdue up 66-65 with 3:21 remaining.
Jerome drew a foul on Williams, going to the line and making both for a 67-66 advantage. Virginia had several chances to extend its lead, but couldn’t connect. Purdue called a timeout with 1:15 left, down one. Edwards banked in a three to put Purdue up by two, and Guy was called out of bounds on the baseline to give Purdue the ball.
Edwards shot wouldn’t go, but Eifert came up with a huge rebound and Virginia had to foul. Cline made both, putting Purdue up three at 70-67. Jerome was fouled with just under six seconds left, and made one to cut the lead to two. On the miss, Diakite tipped the ball out, Clark corralled it, and found Diakite for a buzzer-beater to send it to OT.
Purdue won the overtime tip, but Salt forced a turnover to give Virginia a chance to retake the lead. Guy’s three went off the front of the rim harmlessly, and Haarms gave the Boilermakers a 72-70 lead. Somehow Jerome got a floater to go off the glass to tie things up with 3:17 to play. Haarms tried to back down Diakite, but his shot went off the side of the backboard. Hunter’s shot was altered going to the rim, and was called for a foul on the other end. Eastern made one to give Purdue a 73-72 lead with 2:12 to play.
With four seconds left on the shot clock, Hunter drew a foul down low, made both, and put the Hoos up 74-73 with 1:43 remaining. Edwards’s shot didn’t go, and a huge tip out rebound from Mamadi gave Virginia the ball back and clinging to a one-point lead.
Edwards got a runner to go to put Purdue ahead, giving him 42 points, but Hunter came up with a gigantic bucket to put Virginia up 76-75 with 26.8 seconds left and the shot clock off. After 22.1 outstanding seconds of defense, Guy pulled in a huge rebound off of an Edwards miss and was fouled. He made both to put the Hoos up by three with 5.7 seconds remaining.
Virginia got the ball back with two seconds left after Edwards turned the ball over on the sideline. Guy got the ball into Clark, who was fouled and sent to the line. He made both, and the celebration was on from the Cavaliers.