Purdue's P.J. Thompson, middle, loses the ball as he drives against Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver, right, during the second half of an NCAA men's college basketball tournament regional semifinal, earlly Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver passes the ball from the court as Purdue's Vincent Edwards falls over him during the second half of an NCAA men's college basketball tournament regional semifinal Friday, March 23, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Texas Tech's Brandone Francis, left, and Purdue's Dakota Mathias chase the ball during the first half of an NCAA men's college basketball tournament regional semifinal Friday, March 23, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Purdue's Matt Haarms reacts to a play next to Texas Tech's Zach Smith (11) during the second half of an NCAA men's college basketball tournament regional semifinal, early Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
Saturday, March 24, 2018 2:20 am
Purdue lost, but built a legacy
DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette
BOSTON — All week long, Matt Painter insisted that this game would come down to rebounding and taking care of the ball. That seemed like generic coach-speak at the time, but that's exactly what turned this game in favor of Texas Tech. Purdue couldn't take care of the ball and it couldn't keep the Red Raiders off of the offensive glass.
The Boilermakers turned the ball over 17 times, including three during a crucial 10-0 run to end the first half, and allowed 11 offensive rebounds. It didn't help that they only shot six free throws while Texas Tech attempted 18. This was a matchup between the No. 2 offense in the country and the No. 4 defense and the Texas Tech defense won emphatically, taking the Boilermakers out of just about everything they wanted to do. If Carsen Edwards hadn't gotten hot in the second half, this game would have been a rout down the stretch.
Of course it's possible that a healthy Isaac Haas might have been able to stem the tide during Purdue's cold stretches with some easy looks at the hoop. That was always Haas' most valuable trait, his ability to get a high-percentage shot any time he wanted. The Boilers missed that tonight and Matt Haarms was not as strong with the ball as he would've liked to be.
So the most successful (by number of wins) Purdue season in school history comes to an end with a thud. A team that didn't lose by double digits in any of its first 33 games lost by more than 10 in two of its last four. This wasn't the ending the Boilermaker senior class envisioned when it set out this season, hoping to avenge a loss in exactly this spot a season ago.
It's difficult to think about it right now, with the defeat so fresh in everyone's minds, but this will eventually be looked at as one of the legendary teams in the history of Boilermaker basketball. It was the first team to reach 30 wins, the first team to win 19 in a row, the first to have three 500-point scorers (Vincent Edwards became the third Friday to go with Haas and Carsen Edwards). It came within a tip-in at the buzzer against Ohio State of ascending to the highest AP ranking in school history. In the end, it lost to a better team, but that does not diminish everything this group accomplished. While this loss stings, the legacy of this team will be felt for years to come, especially if the Boilers can build off of these last few seasons and continue to be a yearly contender in the Big Ten.