Purdue cruises to second-ever title game with 13 point win over NC State in the Final Four | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / July 19.
  • Purdue cruises to second-ever title game with 13 point win over NC State in the Final Four

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    By SAM LANCE

    GLENDALE, Ariz — The Purdue Boilermakers will be playing for a national title on Monday night for only the second time in school history after a 63-50 win over NC State in the Final Four. Purdue last made the title game in 1969.

    The two-time National Player of the Year, Zach Edey, was too much for NC State to handle in the paint. He led the way for the Boilermakers with 20 points and 12 rebounds while breaking the record for most consecutive 20+ point, 10+ rebound games in March Madness.

    “This is what we’ve been talking about all year,” Edey said on the podium postgame. “The reason I came back is playing games like this. This is the reason I’m playing college basketball for four years. To finally get to this game, big-time. We obviously got to keep going and keep playing.”

    Purdue’s 3-point shooting was a huge lift in this game, as the Boilermakers shot 10-of-25 (40%) from deep. Purdue came into the game shooting 40.6% from 3 on the season, which ranks second in Division I behind Kentucky. Senior guard Lance Jones made four 3-pointers while sophomore guard Fletcher Loyer made three.

    “It was one of those grinder-type games where we made a few more shots, a few more threes,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “Obviously wanted to keep establishing Zach inside, kind of playing off of that in terms of they were doing some different things with him and just making the right decision, then being able to attack at that point or take the threes that we were given. We made enough of those.”

    Joining Edey in double-figure scoring were Jones (14 points) and Loyer (11 points). Sophomore point guard Braden Smith had a rough game for Purdue with only three points and five turnovers, but the Boilermakers were still able to get it done. The Boilermakers lost the turnover battle 16-11 but made up for it by out-rebounding the Wolfpack 41-28.

    No. 1 Purdue will play No. 1 UConn for the national title on Monday night at 9:20 ET. This will arguably be the clash between the two best teams all season in college basketball, and it’s the first time two players over 7-foot-2 have met in the title game. The matchup between Donovan Clingan and Zach Edey will be one to watch.

    “It’s everything,” Loyer said. “It’s everything we’ve worked for and everything we’ve thought about. 40 more minutes until we’re national champs.”

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