Rushed Reactions: #2 Purdue 76, #10 Butler 73

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on March 18th, 2018

RTC will be providing coverage of the NCAA Tournament from start to finish. Tommy Lemoine (@hoopthink) is in Detroit this weekend. 

Three Key Takeaways.

Vincent Edwards came up big for the shorthanded Boilermakers. (Photo: Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports)

  1. Without Isaac Haas in the lineup, Vincent Edwards stepped up. Purdue suffered a devastating blow on Friday when 7’2″ center Isaac Haas, the team’s second-leading scorer (14.7 PPG) and premier post threat, fractured his elbow against Cal State Fullerton. First reports indicated that he would miss the entire NCAA Tournament; subsequent reports revealed he might see limited minutes. But after his arm brace failed to clear NCAA safety standards over the weekend, the Boilermakers were officially left having to fill the void. Vincent Edwards did exactly that. In just 27 minutes of action because of foul trouble, the senior forward scored 20 points on 6-of-8 shooting — including a couple of timely triples — and came up with a lead-preserving block on Butler’s Kamar Baldwin in the closing minutes. After a late-season ankle injury and two subpar performances in the Big Ten Tournament, Edwards stepped up in a big way for the shorthanded Boilermakers.
  2. Matt Haarms and Purdue’s frontcourt reserves exceeded expectations. No Haas in the lineup meant more minutes for freshman Matt Haarms and the rest of Purdue’s frontcourt reserves. And they made good on that extra playing time. Haarms, a 7’3″ Dutchman, was a defensive force in the paint, blocking a couple shots, drawing a charge and preventing easy Butler looks around the rim (especially in the first half). Junior Grady Eifert — who played sparingly during the regular season — tracked down five rebounds in 17 high-energy minutes. Forwards Nojel Eastern and Jacquil Taylor, who had played just four minutes total since January 20, also helped fill the void. “I’m proud of those other guys who had to increase their roles,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said afterwards.
  3. Kelan Martin did not get enough help. As he did against Arkansas, Kelan Martin — an all-Big East first teamer and Butler’s top offensive weapon — did his part (and then some) on Sunday, scoring 29 points on 9-of-18 shooting. During the second half especially, his ability to attack the rim at-will proved to be the Bulldogs’ best and most consistent form of offense. Painter called him “fantastic” afterwards, and he was. But unlike on Friday, he did not receive enough help from his teammates — most notably Kamar Baldwin. After putting on a show against Arkansas (24 points on 9-of-17 FG), the sophomore guard scored just 14 points on 5-of-16 shooting. And his teammates weren’t much better, considering no other Bulldog finished in double figures. In a game that was decided by a few key possessions, Butler needed someone other than Martin to step up offensively.

Star of the Game. Vincent Edwards, Purdue. Despite picking up three fouls in the first half, the senior Edwards scored 20 points in 27 minutes of action and came up with a huge chase-down block to preserve Purdue’s lead. “They’ve got seniors who stepped up in a big way, with Vincent and Dakota [Mathias],” Butler head coach LaVarr Jordan noted afterwards.

Quotable.

  • “We told each other we have to come out here and play for him.” – Purdue guard Dakota Mathias, on Purdue’s mentality without the services of Isaac Haas.
  • “Absolutely.” – Mathias, when asked whether his game-sealing three-pointer with 15 seconds left was the biggest shot of his life.
  • “We gotta play harder than Texas Tech. Heck of a strategy, isn’t it?” – Purdue coach Matt Painter on his team’s strategy heading into the Sweet Sixteen.

Sights and Sounds. After Sean McDermott cut Purdue’s lead to two with 1:58 on the clock, Butler head coach LaVarr Jordan exploded with energy during the subsequent timeout, pumping his fists and and hyping up the Bulldogs faithful. It was as intense and demonstrative an emotional display as we’ve seen from any coach in this tournament.

What’s Next. Purdue will take on #3 Texas Tech in the East Regional semifinal next weekend in Boston. As the coach of Arkansas-Little Rock in 2016, current Red Raiders’ head coach Chris Beard upset the Boilermakers in the Round of 32.

Tommy Lemoine (249 Posts)


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One response to “Rushed Reactions: #2 Purdue 76, #10 Butler 73”

  1. So if K State were to win… in a way would Kansas blow a 3-0 lead?

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