No Isaac Haas, no problem for Purdue. The 2nd seeded Boilermakers defeated their in-state rival and 10th seeded Butler Bulldogs 76-73 Sunday afternoon.
After losing starting senior center Isaac Haas to a fractured elbow in Friday’s win over Cal-State Fullerton, freshman Matt Haarms was inserted into the starting lineup in place of Haas. Haarms played a very efficient game, scoring 7 points, grabbing 6 rebounds and also added 2 blocks. Haarms played a career-high 29 minutes, and forward Jaquil Taylor also contributed in limited minutes.
The main star for the Boilermakers on Sunday was senior forward Vincent Edwards. Edwards scored 20 points on 6-8 shooting and went a perfect 6-6 from the line. Edwards’s play might have been as a result of a shout out from rapper Lil B on Saturday:
Butler would jump out to an early 23-15 lead following a Kamar Baldwin jumper, but the Boilermakers were able to weather the storm and cut into the Butler lead. The Boilermakers eventually took a 40-34 lead late in the first half following a Carsen Edwards 3-pointer. But in the next possession, Vincent Edwards playing with 2 fouls, picked up his 3rd on a reach in on Butler big man Tyler Wideman.
Purdue would go into the locker room leading, 40-36, but the Bulldogs quickly erased the Boilermaker lead seconds into the second half. Purdue then took a double-digit lead over the Bulldogs with 10:19 left, but the Bulldogs were again able to keep the game close and cut it down to as little as 2.
Down the stretch, Purdue began to lose their flow offensively, but when it mattered most, Matt Painter drew up a play for his best shooter, Dakota Mathias. Leading by 2 with :17 seconds left, senior Dakota Mathias ran off a screen and buried a dagger three at the top of the key.
When asked if it was the biggest shot of his career, Mathias replied instantly, “absolutely.”
That shot would help send Purdue to their second straight sweet 16 appearance. The Boilermakers will face 3rd seeded Texas Tech on Friday night in Boston (time TBA). Purdue showed lots of poise and heart today in their first game without Isaac Haas and will look to keep their momentum rolling in Boston.