March Madness 2019: Top Social Media Highlights for Thursday's Sweet 16March 29, 2019
The Purdue Boilermakers coughed up an 18-point second-half lead, but Ryan Cline's career-best performance propelled the school to the most exciting victory of Thursday's Sweet 16 action.
Cline buried four triples in the closing 5:05 of regulation, including a game-tying shot in the final minute. The senior guard collected 27 points, and his clutch stretch allowed the Boilers to topple the second-seeded Tennessee Volunteers 99-94 in overtime.
But that's only the beginning of the drama.
Late in the second half, Tennessee held a two-point lead thanks to a putback dunk from Grant Williams. The two-time SEC Player of the Year scored 21 points in the loss.
Purdue forced the extra session because Lamonte Turner fouled Carsen Edwards on a three-point attempt with 1.7 seconds left. Edwards connected on two of free throws to even the score at 82 and then added six points in overtime to seal the victory.
The Boilers advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in 19 years and will face Virginia in the South Regional final.
Gonzaga 72, Florida State 58 (West Regional)
This time around, Gonzaga would not be denied.
Florida State earned a 75-60 triumph in a Sweet 16 matchup between the teams last year, knocking out the West Coast Conference power. However, the Zags trailed for a total of 10 seconds Thursday.
They raced out to a 38-27 halftime edge behind 10 points apiece from Rui Hachimura and Josh Perkins. This nifty swipe and three-point play from Perkins capped the excellent start.
The second half belonged to Brandon Clarke.
Gonzaga's center would've posted a double-double in that half alone, finishing with 15 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. He just about brought down the Honda Center (and simultaneously set the internet ablaze) with an emphatic putback dunk, too.
After failing to advance past the Sweet 16 in Mark Few's first 15 seasons―despite making the tournament every year―the Zags are headed to their third Elite Eight appearance since 2015.
Texas Tech 63, Michigan 44 (West Regional)
In a showdown between the nation's two most efficient defenses, only one offense bothered to show up.
Texas Tech surrendered just 16 points to Michigan in the first half. After the break, a 12-2 spurt guided the Red Raiders toward a comfortable 63-44 victory. Tariq Owens slammed home an impressive alley-oop during the decisive run.
From there, it became the Jarrett Culver show.
A potential top-three pick in the 2019 NBA draft, Culver scored 14 of his 22 points in the closing 12 minutes of the second half, constantly finishing at the rim in traffic and through contact.
The sophomore added three steals as part of Tech's suffocating defensive day. Michigan committed 13 turnovers and failed to bury a three-pointer until 21.8 seconds remained in the game. The Wolverines clanged 18 long-range attempts before walk-on C.J. Baird snapped the unceremonious drought.
Prior to the 2017-18 campaign, the program had never reached the Elite Eight. Thanks to Thursday's win, the Red Raiders are going there for a second straight year.
Virginia 53, Oregon 49 (South Regional)
The lone double-digit seed left in the 2019 tournament, No. 12 Oregon overcame an eight-point deficit in the second half and forced a 40-minute fight from No. 1 Virginia.
But the Ducks' valiant effort came up short.
Although they briefly held 42-40 and 45-42 edges, Virginia responded with a tying bucket both times. Ty Jerome's go-ahead triple with 3:33 remaining provided the winning edge for the Cavaliers.
Defense carried Virginia the rest of the way, as Oregon missed its last five shots down the stretch. During the final minute, Kyle Guy found a wide-open De'Andre Hunter for what was effectively a game-icing layup in a 53-49 win.
For only the second time in Tony Bennett's tenure, Virginia is bound for the Elite Eight. The program is seeking its first trip to the Final Four in 35 seasons.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.