After a 19 year drought, Purdue has finally vanquished their Sweet 16 demons and survived to see the Elite 8. As a lifelong Purdue fan, this is something that I never thought I’d see. Year after year we get so close just to have something go catastrophically wrong. Glenn Robinson hurts his back, Robbie Hummel tears his ACL….twice, Isaac Haas breaks his elbow and worst of all, 1988 when we were upset by Kansas State while we were the #1 overall seed. Being a Purdue fan is about as heartbreaking as it gets and that makes this Elite 8 appearance feel like a National Championship.
How they did it
Purdue picked up where they left off against Villanova and got off to a hot start. Everything Tennessee did, Purdue answered. And when the Volunteers went cold in the first half, the Boilers capitalized. Going into halftime we were up 12 and my heart rate was up to 90BPM.
Coming out of halftime it was much of the same. Their lead got as high as 18 and I was losing my mind. Not out of excitement, because as a Purdue fan I know that no lead is safe. I was right.
Everything went Tennessee’s way in the second half, everything. Crazy shots, terrible fouls, and every offensive rebound. It took everything Purdue had to even stay relevant, which included Ryan Cline having the best game of his life. Carmel’s finest casually shot 7-10 from three, 10-13 from the field, and dropped 27 points in the biggest game of his life. Ryan Cline can have my children after that performance.
Under a minute, down three, dude turns nothing into the biggest shot of his life. Unreal performance by Cline tonight.
I had my neighbors above me and beside me banging on their walls and ceiling telling me to shut up as Cline inbounded for the lost shot. When Carsen got fouled on the three to win I’m not ashamed to say I started bawling my eyes out. First free throw misses, makes the second, then the whole season comes down to one free throw. Cashes it and we’re off to OT.
I can’t really remember a lot of overtime because I’m pretty sure I passed out from all the screaming, but I can tell you that Purdue dominated. They absolutely owned Tennessee in the five extra minutes and we’re going to the Elite 8 for the first time in 19 years. I’m not sure if I can mentally handle another game and I can’t even imagine having to watch three more. I can worry about that later because know calls for celebration. BTFU!