Purdue bests Tennessee in Sweet 16 OT epic after wild end to regulation

For the second time in five days, Tennessee likely thought it had a wild NCAA tournament game won. It had a lead and mere seconds to hold onto it. Then disaster struck.

With two seconds remaining, the Volunteers made a critical mistake that, after a five-minute overtime period, proved to be a season-ender. No. 3 seed Purdue knocked off the second-seeded Vols 99-94 in OT to advance to the Elite Eight.

Wild 10 seconds send wild game to OT

Four days after coughing up a 25-point lead to Iowa, then holding on to win in OT, the Volunteers flipped the script.

They had erased an 18-point deficit, and led by two on Grant Williams’ put-back slam with 8.8 seconds left:

Williams then denied Purdue’s Carsen Edwards at the other end with less than three seconds remaining. But on the ensuing in bounds, with Tennessee up two, Vols guard Lamonte Turner fouled Edwards shooting a 3 in the corner, giving Purdue life.

Edwards missed the first free throw, then calmly drilled the next two to tie the game.

With 1.7 seconds left, Tennessee tried to throw the ball to half court and call a timeout to set up a potential game-winning play from the sideline. But Williams, who caught the inbounds, then made a second pass before the timeout could be called.

That all but ended Tennessee’s hopes of winning the game in regulation. But after a borderline epic second half, no neutral was complaining about five more minutes.

Tennessee’s second-half comeback

The Volunteers trailed 40-28 at halftime. They couldn’t hit shots. Couldn’t corral Purdue’s crisp offense. Couldn’t defend the 3-point line or the paint.

And early in the second half, Purdue dug them a deeper hole. Ryan Cline came out of the locker room scorching hot. The first of his six second-half 3s put the Boilermakers up 16. He followed it up with a 2-point jumper to extend the lead to 18.

The best March Madness 2019 mascots
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The best March Madness 2019 mascots
IRVINE, CA - FEBRUARY 06: UC Irvine mascot Peter the Anteater has some fun with court-side fans during their men's basketball game against Cal State Fullerton at Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. UC Irvine defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-53. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 08: The Utah State mascot Big Blue just before a game between the Weber State Wildcats and the Utah State Aggies on December 08, 2018, at Vivint Smart Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.(Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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NORFOLK, VA - MARCH 06: The Old Dominion Monarchs mascot on the floor during a college basketball game against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at the Ted Constant Convocation Center on March 6, 2019 in Norfolk, Virginia. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 14: The Oregon Ducks mascot The Duck walks on the court with the ball in its mouth during a quarterfinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament against the Utah Utes at T-Mobile Arena on March 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 15: The Washington Huskies mascot Harry the Husky plays basketball before a semifinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament against the Colorado Buffaloes at T-Mobile Arena on March 15, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Huskies defeated the Buffaloes 66-61. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, NY - NOVEMBER 19: The Temple Owls Mascot during the first half of the Legends Classic College Basketball Game between the Virginia Commonwealth Rams and the Temple Owls on November 19, 2018 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 12: The Saint Mary's Gaels mascot and cheerleaders line up on the court before the championship game of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament between the Gaels and the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the Orleans Arena on March 12, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Gaels defeated the Bulldogs 60-47. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

But Tennessee climbed back into the game. A 12-0 run midway through the half turned a 65-53 deficit into a tie game.

From there, the two teams went back-and-forth. Cline was shooting out of his mind. He scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half, hitting six of his seven long-range attempts.

But Admiral Schofield was matching him. Tennessee’s senior leader had one solitary point in the first half, on 0-of-4 shooting and 1-for-4 from the free throw line. This came four days after Schofield benched himself for OT of the Iowa win.

But he rose to the occasion in the second half, and was a major reason the Vols got back in the game.

But Tennessee missed its chance to win the game in regulation when Lamonte Turner fouled Edwards. Purdue, which led for more than 30 minutes of the regularly-scheduled 40, held on. It will get the winner of top-seeded Virginia and 12th-seeded Oregon on Saturday.

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