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