Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, March 2, 2018
NEW YORK — Purdue arrived in New York looking to make a statement. It wasn't an emphatic one in the Boilermakers' tourney opener, but the 82-75 win vs. No. 14 Rutgers on Friday sets them up for a chance at the crown.
The No. 3 Boilermakers just missed out on winning the Big Ten title. A conference tourney banner would be a nice salve. It's all about getting prepped for a deep run in the NCAA tourney for a program that time and again has come up short in March.
Rutgers had been the surprise team in this tourney. The Scarlet Knights played loose, free and had fun-and almost pulled off another upset after knocking off No. 6 Indiana on Thursday and No. 11 Minnesota on Wednesday.
Best player(s): Purdue's Attorneys at Ball. Carsen and Vincent Edwards each scored 26 points. Carsen sank 6-of-14 shots and 4-of-10 from 3-point land. Vince hit 10-of-14 shots and 4-of-7 from 3-point range. And they combined to hit 12-of-13 free throws with nine rebounds and seven assists.
Best shot: After Rutgers cut Purdue's lead to 69-67 with 5:41 to go, Vince Edwards drilled a big 3-pointer to push the Boilers' cushion back to 72-67. Purdue held onto that edge and moved on.
Best stat: 25 x 2, Carsen and Vincent Edwards became the first teammates to each score 25-plus points in a Big Ten tournament game. second-chance points for Rutgers, which also had 17 offensive rebounds. Still, it wasn't enough as Purdue subdued Scarlet Knight guards Gio Baker (25 points) and Corey Sanders (23).
It was over when: Purdue led 78-75 with less than a minute to go, and Corey Sanders was headed to the line for a one-and-one. He missed the front end, and Purdue's Carsen Edwards rebounded and was fouled. He promptly sank both freebies to give the Boilers an 80-75 edge.
Best tweet: Former Purdue G Spike Albrecht. Hard to argue with this statement.
- Rutgers' Corey Sanders scored 23 points, several in highlight fashion for the third straight night, raising his final 2018 Big Ten tourney scoring average to 24.7.
- Rutgers was the first No. 14 seed to make the Big Ten tourney semifinals.