Purdue Dances Past Texas In Second Round
For the fourth time in the last five tournaments, Purdue will see the second weekend as the Boilers outlasted the Texas Longhorns, 81-71, in Milwaukee on Sunday night.
Eric Hunter Jr. broke a tie and gave Purdue the lead for good, 55-52, on a three-pointer from the wing after a pass from Jaden Ivey with 9:17 left in the game. Hunter Jr. finished with 11 points, three rebounds and three assists and made 8 of 9 free-throws.
The Boilers had season highs in free throws and attempts (33 of 46) and shattered the previous high (27) in their last game against Yale two days earlier during the first round of the tournament.
“We lived at the free-throw line,” said Painter, “We felt like we had an advantage on the interior and we really wanted to go inside.”
Trevion Williams gave Purdue a spark off the bench as the senior from Chicago scored 22 points. He was efficient with 10 of 13 from the field, mostly from close range, and pulled down seven rebounds.
Ethan Morton, a sophomore from Butler, Pennsylvania, had the responsibility of slowing down Texas’s hottest player Marcus Carr while coming off the bench. Morton was the primary defender on Carr in the second half and forced him into a number of difficult shots down the stretch.
“(Morton) really helped us defensively. Coming in on Marcus Carr, we really wanted to try to keep (Carr) off his right hand as much as possible,” said Painter. “Ethan has great size and he’s really worked at it to be a good defensive player.”
In addition to his stellar defensive play, Morton finished with a season high eight points.
Ivey finished with 18 despite not attempting a field goal in the first half. Zach Edey chipped in with a double-double, 11 points and ten rebounds.
Purdue is the highest seed remaining in the East region after upsets to Baylor and Kentucky. Purdue will travel east to Philadelphia and will try to stop this year’s Cinderella team St. Peters of Jersey City, New Jersey, who defeated No. 2 seed Kentucky and Murray State.
The Peacocks are the first MAAC team to make it to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on Friday.