Home US SportsNCAAB Purdue flexing muscles as it seeks elusive Final Four berth

Purdue flexing muscles as it seeks elusive Final Four berth


Purdue is utilizing its extraordinary measurement to push round opponents, dominate the boards and get to the free-throw line again and again because it seeks its first Last 4 berth in over 4 a long time.

The Boilermakers’ frontcourt mixture of 7-foot-4 Zach Edey and 6-foot-10 Trevion Williams causes matchup points for almost any group within the nation. Purdue has outrebounded its first two NCAA Match foes 83-61 and has outscored them 60-13 from the foul line.

It’s just about going the way in which Williams predicted.

“Every game’s going to be physical,” Williams mentioned earlier than the Boilermakers’ first-round victory over Yale. “I just think if we go in and embrace the physicality of the game, we’ll be fine. Just use our size advantage as best as possible, being smart, just being disciplined.”

That units up an fascinating matchup Friday when the third-seeded Boilermakers (29-7) meet the tournament’s biggest surprise in No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s (21-11). Saint Peter’s options 6-7 ahead KC Ndefo, who led the nation in blocks final season and ranks second amongst all lively Division I gamers in profession blocks.

Saint Peter’s coach Shaheen Holloway offered the quote of the tournament to this point when he was requested after a second-round victory over Murray State how his gamers stayed calm when the Racers tried pushing them round.

“I got guys from New Jersey and New York City,” Holloway replied. “You think we’re scared of anything? You think we’re worried about guys trying to muscle us and tough us out? We do that. That’s who we are.”

Via the primary two rounds, Purdue has 18 extra free throws made and 29 extra tried than every other group within the NCAA Match. The Boilermakers’ plus-11 rebound margin ranks behind solely Kansas and North Carolina amongst groups within the Candy 16.

Purdue’s prowess within the paint has offered an efficient complement to Associated Press All-America second-team guard Jaden Ivey, who’s averaging 20 factors via the primary two rounds.

The Boilermakers went 33 of 46 from the free-throw line Sunday in an 81-71 victory over Texas. That marked essentially the most free-throw makes an attempt and makes Purdue had posted in a single sport since 2002, when the Boilermakers went 35 of 46 from the road in an 84-75 overcome Illinois.

“We lived at the free-throw line,” Purdue coach Matt Painter mentioned.

Edey has drawn seven fouls in every of Purdue’s final two video games and is 15 of twenty-two on free throws. He has extra free-throw makes an attempt than anybody remaining on this match. And he’s carried out all that whereas taking part in simply 17 minutes per sport.

The tag-team substitution strategy Purdue makes use of with Edey and Williams allows each to remain recent. Edey has averaged 13.5 factors and 9.5 rebounds up to now within the match. Williams has performed 21 ½ minutes per sport and matched a season excessive by scoring 22 factors in opposition to Texas.

“I kind of took my time and got to my move, just doing what I do best, getting to my jump hook,” Williams mentioned afterward. “I kept it simple more than anything.”

Painter has proven all through his Purdue tenure that he can produce high quality frontcourt gamers of assorted sizes.

The Boilermakers reached a regional final in 2019 with a lineup that included 7-3 middle Matt Haarms. JaJuan Johnson was 6-10 and a lean 221 kilos however earned Related Press All-America first-team honors in 2011. Caleb Swanigan, who’s 6-9, was a first-team All-America choice in 2017.

“A part of Purdue’s identity is their size,” Texas coach Chris Beard mentioned after his group’s loss to the Boilermakers. “Coach Painter’s teams always seem to have some of the biggest players in college basketball.”

None of these different massive males ever reached a Last 4, one thing that has eluded Purdue since 1980, when the Boilermakers have been led by consensus All-America middle and No. 1 general draft decide Joe Barry Carroll.

This 12 months’s group has a fantastic alternative to finish the drought.

The Boilermakers are the highest seed remaining within the East Area. A victory over Saint Peter’s would ship the Boilermakers to a regional last in opposition to both No. 4 seed UCLA (27-7) or No. 8 seed North Carolina (26-9).

Purdue has a 57.4% likelihood of reaching the Last 4, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, which provides solely Kansas and Gonzaga higher odds. Even so, the Boilermakers are taking nothing with no consideration.

“You’ve just got to be prepared and you’ve got to be locked in,” Williams mentioned. “It all goes to the small things, those little things, boxing out, rebounding, hitting free throws. That stuff means so much more this time of year. It’s about understanding what’s on the line.”


AP Sports activities Author Michael Marot contributed to this report.


Extra AP protection of March Insanity: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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