Virginia advances to Final Four after buzzer-beater, epic OT battle with Purdue

No one in attendance will ever forget March 30, 2019. Nobody will forget the basketball in Louisville on Saturday night. Nobody will forget the noise. Nobody will forget the show. And especially not the Virginia Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers and Boilermakers staged an epic Elite Eight battle, trading 27-footers and leads, a place in the Final Four changing hands tenuously with every one of them.

And in the end, despite a legendary 42 points from Carsen Edwards, that place belongs to Virginia. For the first time since 1984, the Cavaliers are headed back to the Final Four.

But only after the game of the tournament. Only after a whirlwind 39 minutes and 50 seconds, a bonkers final 10 seconds of regulation, and an overtime period.

Edwards put Purdue ahead in the final minute of OT. De’Andre Hunter answered with a tough driving layup to put Virginia up 76-75. And Edwards finally missed with the shot clock turned off. Two Kyle Guy free throws and Purdue turnover on their final possession sealed Virginia’s place in Minneapolis.

All that after Virginia sent the game to the extra period in stunning fashion:

Virginia forces overtime with buzzer-beater

Edwards’ heroics had given Purdue a late lead after trailing for much of the second half. Virginia found itself down 3 after Ryan Cline missed the second of two free throws with less than 20 seconds remaining. Purdue, hoping to avoid a game-tying 3-pointer, fouled.

But Ty Jerome made the front end of the 1-and-1, then missed the second. Virginia tapped the rebound all the way into the backcourt. Kihei Clark raced back to get it. He threw the ball ahead to Mamadi Diakite, who barely beat the buzzer and sent the game to OT:

Officials reviewed the play to ensure Diakite got the shot off. And indeed he did, with about 0.4 seconds on the clock. Virginia had life at the end of an absolutely astounding game, undoubtedly the best of March 2019. Below is the story of that game.

Virginia withstands Purdue’s 3-point barrage

With a roar accompanying every Purdue stop or score, the Boilermakers picked up where they left off two days earlier against Tennessee. Which is to say they seemingly could not miss.

Ryan Cline, coming off a 27-point performance in the Sweet 16, opened the floodgates. Carsen Edwards stormed through them. Aaron Wheeler and Eric Hunter Jr. followed.

The Boilermakers hit their first three 3-pointers as the Yum Center’s roof held on for dear life. They made six of their first eight, and seven of their first 10. And they made some of the seven at an insanely high degree of difficulty.

Ninety-nine percent of college teams would have been flummoxed and demoralized by the onslaught. Virginia, however, is the 1 percent.

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ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 28: Tariq Owens #11 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders celebrates after a dunk against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional at Honda Center on March 28, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MARCH 28: Carsen Edwards #3 of the Purdue Boilermakers goes up for a layup against Admiral Schofield #5 of the Tennessee Volunteers during overtime of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at the KFC YUM! Center on March 28, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MARCH 28: Mamadi Diakite #25 of the Virginia Cavaliers gets in a scuffle with Ehab Amin #4 of the Oregon Ducks during the second half of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at the KFC YUM! Center on March 28, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 28: Rui Hachimura #21 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs dunks the ball against Mfiondu Kabengele #25 of the Florida State Seminoles during the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional at Honda Center on March 28, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Purdue center Matt Haarms celebrates during overtime of a men's NCAA Tournament college basketball South Regional semifinal game against Tennessee Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. Purdue won 99-94. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Michigan guard Charles Matthews, left, and guard Jordan Poole leave the court after the team's loss to Texas Tech during an NCAA men's college basketball tournament West Region semifinal Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Texas Tech forward Deshawn Corprew, middle, reaches for a loose ball between Michigan guard Zavier Simpson, left, and guard Charles Matthews during the first half an NCAA men's college basketball tournament West Region semifinal Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Florida State guard Trent Forrest, left, blocks a shot by Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr. during the second half an NCAA men's college basketball tournament West Region semifinal Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Purdue's Ryan Cline (14) and Carsen Edwards celebrate after defeating Tennessee 99-94 in overtime of a men's NCAA Tournament college basketball South Regional semifinal game Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michigan State forward Xavier Tillman (23) beats out LSU forward Darius Days (22) for the loose ball during the first half of an East Regional semifinal in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Friday, March 29, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Auburn's Chuma Okeke yells out in pain after being injured during the second half of a men's NCAA tournament college basketball Midwest Regional semifinal game against North Carolina Friday, March 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
North Carolina's Seventh Woods, left, and Kenny Williams pause near the end of a men's NCAA tournament college basketball Midwest Regional semifinal game against Auburn Friday, March 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Michigan State forward Gabe Brown (13) and teammates react after he scored against LSU guard Marlon Taylor (14) during the second half of a semifinal in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament East Region in Washington, Friday, March 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Auburn's Anfernee McLemore celebrates at the end of the first half of a men's NCAA tournament college basketball Midwest Regional semifinal game against North Carolina Friday, March 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Auburn's Chuma Okeke (5) grabs his leg as he loses control of the ball on his way to the basket as North Carolina's Cameron Johnson (13) and North Carolina's Brandon Robinson, left, defend during the second half of a men's NCAA tournament college basketball Midwest Regional semifinal game Friday, March 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. Okeke was injured on the play. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Auburn's Danjel Purifoy (3) and Austin Wiley (50) celebrate near the end of a men's NCAA tournament college basketball Midwest Regional semifinal game against North Carolina Friday, March 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: Ahmed Hill #13 of the Virginia Tech Hokies reacts after missing a layup against the Duke Blue Devils late in the second half in the East Regional game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Capital One Arena on March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: Ahmed Hill #13 of the Virginia Tech Hokies reacts after missing a layup against the Duke Blue Devils late in the second half in the East Regional game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Capital One Arena on March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: Anfernee McLemore #24 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: Brandon Robinson #4 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts after being defeated by the Auburn Tigers 97-80 during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: Brandon Robinson #4 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts against the Auburn Tigers during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Duke guard Tre Jones (3) reacts after scoring against Virginia Tech during the second half of an NCAA men's college basketball tournament East Region semifinal in Washington, Friday, March 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Kentucky's Immanuel Quickley celebrates as time expires in a men's NCAA tournament college basketball Midwest Regional semifinal game against Houston Friday, March 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Virginia Tech guard Ahmed Hill (13) celebrates after scoring, next to Duke forward Zion Williamson (1) during the first half of an NCAA men's college basketball tournament East Region semifinal in Washington, Friday, March 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Auburn's Danjel Purifoy (3) and Austin Wiley (50) celebrate near the end of a men's NCAA tournament college basketball Midwest Regional semifinal game against North Carolina Friday, March 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Houston's Galen Robinson Jr. (25) walks off the court as Kentucky celebrates in the background following a men's NCAA tournament college basketball Midwest Regional semifinal game Friday, March 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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The Cavs, who rank top-10 nationally in 3-point shooting, were misfiring from long range. Kyle Guy, one of the country’s best, an Indiana kid, was missing when wide-open. But Virginia, as it was against Oregon, was unfazed.

It continued to cut and churn, running its offense, maintaining patience. It started 4-of-4 from inside the arc. It went to Mamadi Diakite for some early offense. It climbed back from a 10-point deficit and into the game. Purdue eventually cooled off. Edwards was the only Boilermaker to score after the 9:46 mark.

As a team, Purdue only made two 2-point field goals in the first half, and saw its lead dwindle to one after 20 minutes.

Kyle Guy injures ankle, then remembers how to shoot

Late in the first half, Guy crumpled to the floor after rolling his ankle. He limped to the bench. He was in serious pain. His evening, and his NCAA tournament overall, appeared to have gone from bad to worse.

But he returned for the final possession of the half, and in the second, he put his previously-frigid March behind him.

Guy’s 3 on the first possession of the second half, his first of the game, gave Virginia its first lead of the game. His second extended the lead. A few minutes later, he hit a third:

With Guy finding his range, and ending his Yum Center woes, Virginia was as efficient as ever on offense. The only man it didn’t have an answer for was Edwards.

Carsen Edwards did his best Curry impression

Edwards was pulling from anywhere and everywhere. On balance and off balance. Guarded and ungua—well, actually, always guarded.

He saw Guy get hot at one end, and realized he had to match the Indianapolis native. After Virginia took an eight-point lead at 45-37, Edwards buried 3s on three consecutive possessions. He was borderline unstoppable once the ball hit his hands.

Tony Bennett had made a halftime adjustment to account for Edwards’ unconsciousness, switching the 6-foot-7 De’Andre Hunter onto Purdue’s catalyst. But Hunter, a likely lottery pick, couldn’t do anything to contain him.

Even when Edwards couldn’t quite get his feet back behind the line, his stroke was true:

Edwards, for a fifth consecutive NCAA tournament game, scored at least 25 points, matching Steph Curry’s run at Davidson. He passed Curry for the most points ever in the first four games of a single tournament.

After a while, his shot selection started mirroring Curry’s. He made nine 3s in all. It was quite a show.

But after all the late-game insanity, it wasn’t quite enough.

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