HARTFORD, Conn. — After a dominant first-half performance, the Boilers knew they needed to keep their feet on the pedals to eliminate the defending national champions. That they did in a big way, defeating Villanova, 87-61, to advance to the Sweet 16.
Purdue (25-9) dominated Villanova (26-10) in Hartford in nearly every aspect of the game and were led by a career-best performance of 42 points from junior guard Carsen Edwards. With the win, the Boilers advance to its third consecutive NCAA Regional.
Nobody can contain the legend that is Carsen Edwards.5 three-pointers in the first half for the Purdue captain. pic.twitter.com/CX2wcB9N94— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 24, 2019
Entering the second half, the Boilers led the Wildcats 43-24. Convincing, yes, but for these Boilermakers, not quite enough.
Purdue started the second 20 minutes on a 16-0 run, which, for all intents and purposes, put the game way out of reach for the defending champs.
In fact, going back to the first half, the Boilers went on a staggering 32-4 run, a scoring ratio of 8 to 1 over a period of about 14 minutes of play.
Purdue was simply firing on all cylinders, and it was fun to take in both the offensive brilliance and defensive prowess on display from the black and gold.
"I thought we played our best game of the year, and you know, you want to be playing your best basketball at this time," Purdue head coach Matt Painter said.
Painter was pleased with the team's performance on every part of the court.
"We got into such a good rhythm offensively, but we also got good balance, rhythm 3s," Painter said.
The star of the night was undoubtedly Purdue's star player all season long, junior guard Carsen Edwards.
Edwards led Purdue in scoring with a career-high 42 points on 12-of-21 shooting from the field and an unbelievable 9-of-16 from behind the arc.
"Honestly, I wouldn't say I knew I had a career night until the game was over," Edwards said. "I was just so focused on trying to get the win, especially in games like this where you value every possession."
Also contributing substantially for the Boilers was sophomore center Matt Haarms, who scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting while adding nine rebounds.
FEED THE BIG MAN!Matt Haarms sparking a Purdue run against the defending national champs. pic.twitter.com/jgVz2jlBws— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 24, 2019
Although the junior made a big impact for the Boilers, it was truly a team effort to dominate Villanova. Three players finished the night with 10 or more points, and two players finished with five or more rebounds.
Purdue shot 28-of-53 from the field, equating to 53 percent shooting. More impressive than that statistic was the fact that the Boilers shot 16-of-30 from behind the arc, as the 16 3-pointers were only five off of the all-time NCAA Tournament record of 21.
While Purdue's outside shooting stood out the most, they were also dominant around the basket while winning the points in the paint battle 26-8.
Another area of dominance for the Boilermakers was in rebounding the basketball. Purdue held a huge advantage on the boards, led by Haarms' seven rebounds and senior forward Grady Eifert's six rebounds.
In addition, the Boilers held Villanova to just 34 percent shooting (20-of-53) from the field.
Making his return to the starting lineup for Purdue was sophomore guard Nojel Eastern, who fell and sprained his ankle before the Boilers' first-round win over Old Dominion, missing substantial time in that game.
Eastern finished the night with 4 points, five rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes of action.
Leading the way for Villanova in their losing effort was senior forward Eric Paschall, who scored 19 points. Senior guard Phil Booth also contributed for 15 points for the Wildcats.
Purdue's all-world performance in the victory caught the attention of Villanova's legendary head coach.
"Purdue reminds me of our team (the national champions) last year," said Villanova head coach Jay Wright.
It was important for Purdue to get off to a good start in the game, which they only expanded on, because the crowd was definitely favoring Villanova due to the school's proximity to Hartford in comparison to Purdue.
The fact that the Boilers rolled early silenced the Villanova faithful and never let them build any momentum for the Wildcats.
The win moved Purdue to a record of 11-12 all time in NCAA second-round games, and also marked the Boilers' first ever victory over a No. 6 seed in the tournament, moving to 1-4 in those matchups historically.
The Boilers will face No. 2 seed Tennessee on Thursday. The Volunteers beat No. 10 seed Iowa, 83-77, in overtime on Sunday.
• Purdue improved to 25-9 overall with an 87-61 win over defending national champion Villanova in the round of 32 ... the Boilermakers have won 19 of their last 23 games.
• Purdue improved to 13-16 all-time against defending national champions ... however, the win was Purdue's first against a defending national champion since beating Michigan twice during the 1989-90 season (Michigan was the champ in 1989).
• Purdue has reached its third straight Sweet 16, the second time in school history with three straight Sweet 16 berths (1998-2000) ... the Boilermakers are one of four teams to make three straight Sweet 16s (Purdue, Kentucky, Gonzaga, Michigan).
• Purdue is 6-2 in its last eight NCAA Tournament games.
• The win was Purdue's first in four tries all-time against Villanova.
• Purdue won for the first time in NCAA Tournament play against the No. 6 seed, losing its previous four games (now 1-4).
• Purdue's 87 points were the most in an NCAA Tournament since scoring 90 against Baylor in the opening round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
• Purdue's 26-point win is the second-largest margin of victory over a defending national champion in NCAA Tournament history (1990; Loyola Marymount 149, Michigan 115).
• Purdue's 26-point victory is its largest in the NCAA Tournament outside the first round ... the 26-point win is the fifth-largest margin in the NCAA Tournament in school history ... it's also the second-largest margin of victory over a nationally-ranked opponent (Villanova was 23rd).
• Purdue became the seventh active team to win at least 25 games in four straight seasons (Purdue, Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Duke).
• Purdue's senior class of Ryan Cline and Grady Eifert have now won a school-record 108 career games, owning a 108-33 record.
• Purdue's 16 3-pointers were the most in school history during an NCAA Tournament game and the third most by any team in the NCAA Tournament since the 2010-11 season ... coincidentally, Villanova has the two highest 3-point totals since 2010-11, both coming last year.
• Carsen Edwards scored a career-high 42 points while adding six rebounds and an assist ... Edwards’ 42 points are the most in an NCAA Tournament since Syracuse’s Gerry McNamara scored 43 vs. BYU in the 2004 NCAA Tournament ... his 42 points are the second most by a Big Ten player in NCAA Tournament history (44 by Purdue's Glenn Robinson vs. Kansas; 1994) ... Edwards' 42 points are the most in NCAA Tournament history against a defending National Champion ... Edwards' eight career 30-point games are the sixth most in school history and his three 40-point games are the fifth most in school history ... Edwards surpassed 800 points this season and is now ranked third on the school's single-season points list (803; Glenn Robinson – 1,030 in 1994; Rick Mount – 932 in 1969) ... Edwards becomes the first Big Ten player since 1992-93 with 800 points and 100 assists in a season).
• Edwards made a school-record nine 3-pointers ... his nine 3-pointers tied the most for a player in the NCAA Tournament since 2010-11 (Baylor's Brady Heslip vs. Colorado in 2012; UCLA's Bryce Alford vs. SMU in 2015) ... his nine 3-pointers are tied for the third most in the NCAA Tournament's first, second or third rounds in NCAA history (11 by Jeff Fryer, Loyola Marymount vs. Michigan in 1990; 10 by Roburt Sallie, Memphis vs. Cal State Northridge in 2009) ... Edwards' nine 3-pointers are the fourth most in any NCAA Tournament game in NCAA history ... his nine 3-pointers set a new XL Center record, held previously by UConn's Ray Allen ... Edwards has tied the Big Ten record for most 3-pointers in a season with 120 (Penn State's Shep Garner – 2018).
• Ryan Cline made four 3-pointers and now has 102 this season, becoming the third player in school history with 100 triples in a season (Carsen Edwards– 120 in 2019; Troy Lewis – 100 in 1988).
– Purdue Athletics Communications contributed to this report.