College Hoops

How Big Ten teams fared in Sweet 16 and Elite Eight

Takeaways from Badgers loss to No. 3 Purdue

Purdue Boilermakers center Zach Edey (15) and Purdue Boilermakers guard Lance Jones (55) celebrate during the NCAA men’s basketball game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue Boilermakers won 96-68.

After obliterating No. 16 Grambling and No. 8 Utah State, the Boilermakers tipped off against Mark Few’s Gonzaga Bulldogs in Detroit, Michigan. Gonzaga possessed the lead for most of the first half, but the Zags simply could not contain 7-foot-4 sensation Zach Edey. The big man finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds, and guard Braden Smith added 14 tallies, eight boards and a Stockton-esque 15 dimes. The combination of stout outside shooting (45% from downtown) and domination on the interior proved too arduous for Gonzaga to overcome. 

If fans thought Edey played well against the Bulldogs, they were in for a treat for Purdue’s Elite Eight bout against the No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers. 

Backed by sharpshooter Dalton Knecht, who nailed four three-point field goals in the first half, the orange and white jumped out to a 32-21 advantage. Edey and company orchestrated a 13-0 run through swift inside execution and penetration en route to a two-tally half-time edge.

The two teams would trade blows throughout the second frame, but Edey always seemed to answer the bell. The future NBA prospect dropped 21 of his 40 total points following intermission, and Purdue downed Tennessee 72-66 to secure its first Final Four appearance since 1980.

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