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NC State v Purdue

Source: Christian Petersen / Getty

[Pheonix, AZ]- Number One Purdue is heading to the NCAA Title game for the first time since 1969.

Purdue advanced past (11) North Carolina State on Saturday in the Semi-Final round. The Boilermakers eliminated the Wolfpack with a 63-50 win.

Purdue jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. At the under sixteen timeout, the Boilers held a 12-7 lead. They continued to keep N.C. State at bay, not allowing them to come within five. at the Half, Purdue led 35-29.

With 12:43 left in the second half, Purdue had their largest lead to that point in the game at 45-33. That was not the largest lead Purdue would have though. Mason Gillis put Purdue up twenty, 63-43, with 2:52 left on his second free throw. In the end, a defensive rebound by fifth year senior Fletcher Loyer confirmed Purdue’s ticket to the National Championship on Monday.

In the semi-final round, history was made by National Player of the Year Zach Edey. Edey became the first player in NCAA history with six 20+ point, 10+ rebound games. Edey also became Purdue’s all-time leader in double-doubles in a single season with 29.

For the individual efforts, Edey once again led Purdue in scoring with twenty points. He also had twelve rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. In a turn of events, Edey only went to the free throw line twice, hitting both shots. He went 9-14 from the field.

For the other Boilers, Fletcher Loyer and Lance Jones finished in double digit scoring figures. Jones had fourteen while Loyer contributed eleven.

For Braden Smith, it was a struggling night shooting. Smith went 1-9 from the field and 1-5 from three for just three points for the sophomore. Smith did contribute six assists while playing all forty minutes, despite having three fouls early in the second half. Trey Kaufman-Renn added seven points. Mason Gillis came off the bench to contribute eight points.

Defensively, Purdue gave up a twenty-point game to DJ Horne. Horne also had eight rebounds in the loss. DJ Burnes Jr. finished the night with eight points and three fouls.

As a team, Purdue’s shooting numbers did not start great, but turned around in the end. Purdue shot 40% from the field, 40% from three, and 90% from the free throw line. The Boilermakers outrebounded the Wolfpack 41-28. However, Purdue did commit sixteen turnovers, including two over and back calls in the first half.

For the National Championship game on Monday, Purdue will meet the defending champion UConn. The Huskies are coming off their lowest win margin of the tournament, eliminating Alabama with an 86-72 final. Purdue and UConn meet Monday at 9:20 PM Eastern.

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