No. 1 seed Purdue advances to title game, 63-50 over NC State

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 07 Apr, 2024 at 03:10 AM

Credit: Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Zach Edey took a moment to reflect after playing all 40 minutes on Saturday.

"I don't know if I expected it," Edey said. "But I was ready for it."

Edey scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and No. 1 seed Purdue pulled away for a 63-50 win over North Carolina State in the opening game of the NCAA Final Four on Saturday evening in Glendale, Ariz.

Lance Jones scored 14 points for Purdue (34-4), which advanced to the NCAA championship game for the first time since 1969. Fletcher Loyer finished with 11 points for the Boilermakers, and Mason Gillis chipped in eight.

Purdue will play another No. 1 seed, UConn, on Monday night for the title. The Huskies (36-3) defeated No. 4 Alabama 86-72 later Saturday night.

"It's everything," Loyer said. "It's everything we've worked for, everything we've thought about. A lot of late nights, (you) can't even sleep because you're thinking about it."

DJ Horne finished with 20 points to lead No. 11 seed North Carolina State (26-15). Jayden Taylor contributed 11 points, and D.J. Burns Jr. scored eight for the Wolfpack, whose magical tournament run ended after reaching the Final Four for the first time since 1983.

Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said his players made the school proud.

"I don't know if I could be prouder of a group of guys that I've coached than this group here," Keatts said. "We will walk out of here with our heads up as champions."

Purdue went on a 14-1 run late in the second half to seize control. Braden Smith made a 3-pointer from the right wing, his only points of the game, to put the Boilermakers on top 61-43 with 3:24 to go.

The Wolfpack fell behind by as many as 20 points before closing the game on a 7-0 run.

The Boilermakers overcame a slow start to the second half to maintain their lead. Gillis drained a 3-pointer from the left corner to snap a 4:50 scoring drought and give the Boilermakers a 42-33 lead with 13:38 remaining.

Less than a minute later, Jones made a 3-pointer to push Purdue's lead to 45-33.

North Carolina State climbed back within 49-42 with 8:03 to play when Horne hit a jump shot.

Purdue led 35-29 at the half.

The Boilermakers grabbed a double-digit lead in the first 10 minutes. Jones fed a pass inside to Edey, who quickly returned a pass to Jones on the perimeter for a 3-pointer to make it 21-11 with 10:09 to go before the break.

North Carolina State chipped away at the deficit with a 13-4 run to pull within 32-29 with 39 seconds remaining in the first half. Horne made a jump shot to cap the run.

Loyer made a 3-pointer to finish the first-half scoring for Purdue.

Purdue coach Matt Painter said a patient approach helped secure the victory.

"It was one of those grinder-type games where we made a few more shots, a few more threes," Painter said. "Obviously (we) wanted to keep establishing Zach inside, kind of playing off of that in terms of (how) they were doing some different things with him ... and then being able to attack at that point or take the threes that we were given.

"We made enough of those."

--Field Level Media