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Carsen Edwards, No. 3 Purdue Escape in OT vs. Tennessee; Advance to Elite 8

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 29, 2019

Purdue's Carsen Edwards (3) goes to the basket against Tennessee's Lamonte Turner (1) during the first half of a men's NCAA Tournament college basketball South Regional semifinal game, Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Carsen Edwards scored 29 points and Ryan Cline added 27 as No. 3 seed Purdue escaped with a 99-94 overtime win over No. 2 Tennessee in the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

An extra session seemed impossible early in the second half: Purdue led by as many 18 points and held a 65-51 edge with 10:53 remaining.

However, what looked like another boring blowout in an NCAA tournament that has featured some morphed into an instant classic in a matter of minutes.

In just 3:40 of game time, Tennessee stormed back with a 14-0 run to tie the Sweet 16 matchup at 65 after a Lamonte Turner three-pointer:

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

TIE GAME! 😱 The Volunteers comeback from a 18-pt deficit. #Sweet16 #MarchMadness | @Vol_Hoops https://t.co/dMspgQcZKm

The two teams then exchanged blows for the remainder of regulation, which ended with the two sides tied at 82.

During that stretch, the matchup turned into an unforgettable heavyweight fight in which both competitors exchanged blows at a frenetic pace.

On the Purdue side, Cline simply could not miss, hitting four three-pointers in the final 5:05 of regulation. The 6'6" senior, who played much of the second half and overtime with four fouls, made incredible shots to keep Purdue in the game, such as this deep three:

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

THAT'S A DEEP 3️⃣ FOR PURDUE! 🔥 #Sweet16 #MarchMadness | @BoilerBall https://t.co/rkOiIc4Zmq

None were more impressive than Cline's game-tying three-pointer after tirelessly working to shake off Grant Williams and create enough space for a clutch bucket:

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

"YOU'VE GOT TO LOVE IT!" @BoilerBall answers to tie it up! #MarchMadness | #Sweet16 https://t.co/BKleqNLttt

Cline made seven of 10 three-pointers on the evening.

Tennessee also featured a clutch senior making big plays down the stretch.

Williams was on the wrong end of the Cline three, but he was a monster in the paint thanks to two powerful slams. The first put Tennessee ahead 80-77, and the second seemingly gave the Vols the last laugh in regulation when he threw down a putback dunk with 8.8 seconds remaining to give his team an 82-80 lead:

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

GRANT. WILLIAMS. 😱 VOLS UP 2!!! #MarchMadness | #Sweet16 https://t.co/2KoJakYEix

 

Following a timeout, Edwards sprinted down the court and attempted a layup, but the shot was blocked out of bounds. Purdue still had life with 2.7 seconds remaining, however, and got a break when Edwards was fouled on a three-point attempt from the corner.

The call is the biggest talking point postgame, with numerous analysts thinking Purdue received a generous decision on the shot.

Wes Rucker of 247Sports was not a fan:

Wes Rucker @wesrucker247

So controversial OB call. Then tough call on the 3-point shooter. Only refs could ruin college basketball’s game of the year.

Wes Rucker @wesrucker247

People ask me why I discuss college basketball officials all the time. Again, this is why. It has to be better than this.

Kyle Boone of CBS Sports agreed:

Kyle Boone @Kyle__Boone

Upon further review ... The foul call that gave Carsen Edwards three free throws at the close of regulation should never have been awarded. Terrible foul call. https://t.co/hGklaoBXlZ

There's also a question of whether Edwards was out of bounds, as noted by David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News:

David Jones @djoneshoop

Nobody on TBS talking about Edwards maybe being out of bounds on the catch. THAT is the major question. https://t.co/OhRAqT7iyy

After missing the first three throw, Edwards calmly knocked down the next two to tie the game. Tennessee could not get a shot off for the win, sending the game into overtime.

Once there, Purdue resembled the team that had controlled the game for the majority of the contest. The Vols didn't make a field goal for the first 3:33 of the extra session.

Meanwhile, Purdue never trailed in the final five minutes, with Edwards leading the team with six points. No play was more important than this smooth Grady Eifert backdoor pass to Matt Haarms to give Purdue a 91-84 lead:

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

Purdue with the SLAM! 😤 #Sweet16 #MarchMadness | @BoilerBall https://t.co/SNe3Um1mT9

Regardless of the officials' decision on the Edwards shot to end regulation, two other factors were largely to blame for Tennessee's loss, as Rocky Top Talk pointed out:

RockyTopTalk @RockyTopTalk

We can talk about the foul at the end all we want, but Tennessee's lack of defensive intensity to start this one cost them in the end. Free throws, too.

Neither team got it going from the line. Tennessee shot 50 percent, while Purdue was even worse at 48.5 percent. However, the Vols' defense for the majority of regulation and overtime was the primary difference in this one.

Still, Tennessee enjoyed an excellent season, finishing with a 31-6 record. Williams and Admiral Schofield led the team with 21 points, and Jordan Bowden added 16 off the bench.

Purdue will face the winner of No. 1 Virginia and No. 12 Oregon on Saturday in the Sweet 16.