Purdue and Michigan came in hoping to make it an all-Big Ten Midwest regional final. Instead, both teams will go back to B1G-land following different, but equally disappointing losses.
Michigan suffered heartbreak in a 69-68 loss to Oregon, while Purdue got the very best of Kansas in a 32-point beatdown in the nightcap in Kansas City.
In the opener, Michigan went toe-to-toe with Oregon but its magic eventually wore off. The Ducks simply had an answer for everything the Wolverines threw at them, advancing to the regional final 69-68.
Derrick Walton did his usual thing, scoring 20 points, dishing out eight assists and grabbing five rebounds. Fellow guard Zak Irvin added 19 points and eight rebounds, but it just wasn’t enough.
Neither was a 68-65 lead with under two minutes to play. Even Derrick Walton’s confidence wasn’t enough to get a step-back three to go in the final seconds of the game.
It certainly didn’t help that a pair of late offensive rebounds couldn’t be converted in to points, nor that they committed seven first-half turnovers en route to a two-point Oregon lead at the half.
Michigan’s big three-point shooting offense also sputtered, shooting just 11 of 31 from beyond the arc. It was also a clear indication that the Wolverines couldn’t count on points inside from the likes of Moritz Wagner and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman.
Things were much different in the nightcap, as Kansas steam-rolled the Boilermakers in the second half en route to a 98-66 victory in front of a partisan crowd at the Sprint Center.
Kansas knocked down 15 three-pointers, shooting a crazy 53.6 percent from deep in the process. Meanwhile, Purdue’s perimeter scoring couldn’t keep up, hitting 10 three-pointers while shooting just 37 percent from beyond the arc.
Even the size advantage meant nothing for Purdue, who were out-rebounded 36-29. However, the game didn’t really get away from the Boilermakers until they shot themselves in the foot near the middle of the second half.
Ryan Cline hit a triple to put Purdue down just four at 58-54 with 14:45 to play. However, Cline and Carsen Edwards would turn the ball over twice in short order and a four-point game stretched quickly to a 66-54 KU lead on a Josh Jackson made triple with 11:38 to play.
That was the end of Purdue’s hopes, as Kansas did just about whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted. Perhaps the biggest sign of just how bad things got happened on a breakaway 360-degree dunk by Lagerald Vick off a steal of a Carsen Edwards pass.
That was all she wrote for the Boilermakers psyche, as the next shot was a miss from deep and then Vince Edwards had an errant throw out of an out-of-bounds play that resulted in the earlier-mentioned triple from Jackson.
Kansas’ star freshman had a quiet overall night by his standards, putting up just 15 points and 12 rebounds. However, national player of the year candidate, Frank Mason III, had no such quiet game. He poured in 26 points to tie with teammate Devonte Graham at the top of the scoring chart. Mason also added seven rebounds and seven assists.
It was about as opposite a second half as Matt Painter’s crew would’ve drawn up. Nothing was falling from beyond the arc, mistakes on offense were compounded by mistakes on the other end and Purdue’s more methodical offensive pace wasn’t conducive to a comeback of large proportions.
After a banner first weekend in the 2017 NCAA tournament, it couldn’t have ended much worse for the first teams from the Big Ten on the second weekend. Heartbreak on one hand, a blowout on the other.
What could be next for the lone team in the NCAA tournament from the Big Ten?
Your turn Wisconsin…you are the only hope left for the B1G now.
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