An ecstatic Elite Eight duel between Virginia and Purdue on Saturday night ended in Boilermaker heartbreak. Despite the superhuman efforts of junior guard Carsen Edwards, who tried with all his might to drag Purdue to the Final Four, the Cavaliers came out with an improbable 80-75 victory.
Edwards’s performance calls to mind no one but Steph Curry or Buddy Hield. He scored more than half of his team’s points (42 total) on 14-of-25 shooting, including a dazzling 10 three-pointers. Here’s the wildest one of all—a bank shot with just over a minute to play that put his team up 69-67.
Virginia did just enough to survive regulation. After Edwards made that trey, the ’Hoos eventually found themselves down three with the ball with 15 seconds left. The Boilermakers intentionally fouled Ty Jerome with five seconds to go, but Virginia was somehow able to execute the highly unlikely “make the first, miss the second, get the rebound and score” play. It was Mamadi Diakite who managed a tap-out, Kihei Clark who chased the ball down beyond halfcourt, Diakite who nailed the desperate putback to force OT, and then everyone on Virginia who went nuts in celebration.
The teams traded leads with less than a minute to go in the extra period, but the game was decided, unfortunately, on a couple of Edwards mistakes. Down 76-75 with seven seconds remaining, Edwards missed a three, and with one last chance after Kyle Guy made a pair of free throws, his errant pass essentially ended Purdue’s hopes.
This is Virginia’s first Final Four since 1984. They’ll play either Auburn or Kentucky in a week.