NCAA Basketball

Ailing Edwards eager to lift Purdue past ODU

Purdue celebrated a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship before promptly being bounced from the conference tournament.

Despite the early exit, the third-seeded Boilermakers (23-9) aren't lacking in confidence as they begin NCAA Tournament play on Thursday against 14th-seeded Old Dominion (26-8) in a South Region matchup in Hartford, Conn.

"Winning the championship was fun -- really fun," sophomore point guard Nojel Eastern said. "But I think the Final Four would be even more fun.

"We just try to stay within ourselves, stay within our program, and prove it to ourselves we can get that far."

Purdue has made the NCAA Tournament in five straight years and 11 of 14 under the watch of coach Matt Painter. The Boilermakers have reached the Sweet 16 in back-to-back years, but haven't advanced past that round since 2000.

"As a coach, you keep getting opportunities and they (the players) don't have as many," Painter said, per the Lafayette Journal & Courier. "This is great for (seniors) Ryan Cline and Grady Eifert. They went to four tournaments in four years, but they went to back-to-back Sweet 16s and you want to do better.

"But you all know, it's very fragile. The NCAA tournament's a crap shoot. You play on a neutral court and everybody's good."

Cline recorded 14 points and eight assists in Purdue's 75-73 setback to Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinal clash on Friday.

Junior guard Carsen Edwards misfired on seven of eight attempts from 3-point range, however, and enters the NCAA Tournament with an ailing back.

"I'm just focused on this first game, honestly," said Edwards, who led the Big Ten in scoring at 23.0 points per game.

"I believe in my guys. I believe they're going to give everything they have and coach Painter's going to try to put us in the best position. I'm just focused on the first game and giving everything I have."

Old Dominion provides the opposition and enters the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011 after winning the Conference USA regular season and tournament championships.

B.J. Stith averages team-best totals in points (16.9) and rebounding (7.5) while fellow senior guard Ahmad Caver has a club-high 5.6 assists to go along with his 16.5 points per game.

"This group worked hard," Monarchs coach Jeff Jones said following Saturday's 62-56 win over Western Kentucky in the Conference USA championship game. "But what they really did was become a team early on. That's a tribute to the leadership of B.J. and Ahmad.

"We're going to enjoy this. It's going to be pretty special. We're absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity."

Jones was visibly emotional after the game, telling reporters that the year has been tough for both personal and professional reasons. Prior to the season, Jones learned that he had a recurrence of prostate cancer.

The Monarchs, who have held their last 10 opponents to fewer than 65 points, are 3-11 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

The winner advances to face the victor of the contest pitting defending national champion Villanova and 11th-seeded Saint Mary's.

--Field Level Media

Updated March 19, 2019

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Teams Score Time
Alcorn State   7:00pm
North Carolina State  
Hurricanes   8:30pm
Teams Score Time
Charleston Southern 46 F
Michigan State 94
Monmouth 50 F
Pittsburgh 63
Presbyterian 53 F
Notre Dame 63
Utah Valley 74 F
Kentucky 82
Colgate 62 F
Auburn 91
Stetson 51 F
Ohio State 86
UC Irvine 53 F
Colorado 69
Utah State 82
Alcorn State   7:00pm
North Carolina State  
Vermont   7:00pm
East Tennessee State   8:00pm
Fairfield   8:30pm
UT Arlington   9:00pm
Maine   11:00pm
Teams Score Time
Cavaliers 105 F
Knicks 123
Hornets 96 F
Raptors 132
Pacers 115 F
Nets 86
Bucks 115 F
Bulls 101
Trail Blazers 108 F
Rockets 132
Spurs 110 F
Mavericks 117
Celtics 99 F
Suns 85
Timberwolves 112 F
Jazz 102
Thunder 88 F
Clippers 90
Warriors   8:00pm
Trail Blazers   8:00pm
Suns   10:00pm
Thunder   10:30pm
Teams Score Time
Chiefs 24 F
Chargers 17
Teams Score Time
Ducks 2 F
Capitals 5
Kings 0 F
Coyotes 3
Bruins   7:00pm
Wild   7:00pm
Canadiens   7:00pm
Blue Jackets  
Islanders   7:00pm
Flyers   7:00pm
Senators   7:30pm
Red Wings  
Lightning   8:00pm
Jets   8:00pm
Hurricanes   8:30pm
Canucks   8:30pm
Avalanche   9:00pm
Maple Leafs   10:00pm
Golden Knights  
Oilers   10:30pm
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 18 Kyle Busch 4
2 19 Martin Truex Jr 3
3 20 Erik Jones 16
4 4 Kevin Harvick 2
5 22 Joey Logano 5
6 14 Clint Bowyer 10
7 6 Ryan Newman 15
8 3 Austin Dillon 22
9 88 Alex Bowman 12
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 2 Tyler Reddick 1
2 00 Cole Custer 2
3 98 Chase Briscoe 5
4 9 Noah Gragson 10
5 20 Christopher Bell 7
6 36 John Hunter Nemechek 6
7 22 Austin Cindric 3
8 19 Brandon Jones 4
9 8 Jeb Burton 18
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 16 Austin Hill 5
2 88 Matt Crafton 9
3 51 Christian Eckes 2
4 45 Ross Chastain 3
5 24 Brett Moffitt 4
6 13 Johnny Sauter 6
7 98 Grant Enfinger 7
8 4 Todd Gilliland 11
9 2 Sheldon Creed 12