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.

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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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