NCAA Basketball

61
South Regional - Round 3
Final 1 2 Tot
24 37 61
43 44 87
87
5:40 PM PT6:40 PM MT7:40 PM CT8:40 PM ET12:40 PM GMT8:40 PM 北京时间5:40 PM MST7:40 PM EST, Mar 23, 2019
XL Center, Hartford, Connecticut  Attendance: 15,031

Purdue faces big test against defending champ Villanova

Purdue faces quite the obstacle in its path toward a third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance in the form of reigning national champion Villanova.

The third-seeded Boilermakers (24-9) will look to topple the sixth-seeded Wildcats (26-9) on Saturday night in the NCAA Tournament South Region second-round game at Hartford, Conn.

Purdue and Villanova recorded impressive defensive performances in their first-round victories. The Boilermakers limited 14th-seeded Old Dominion to a 26.9-percent effort from the field in their 61-48 win on Thursday while the Wildcats grinded out a 61-57 triumph over 11th-seeded Saint Mary's.

"I would much rather (have) a 20-point win," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "That would have been much nicer. But it is good to play a game like this in the NCAA Tournament."

It also helps that the Wildcats can rely on the veteran leadership that has enabled the program to capture two national championships in the last three seasons.

Phil Booth scored 20 points against the Gaels and fellow senior captain Eric Paschall added 14 as the Wildcats improved to 14-1 in the NCAA Tournament since 2016.

"We're growing, our young guys are growing, but we have two seniors who do everything for us, on and off the court," Wright said. "We're just so lucky to have them."

Villanova sputtered out of the blocks, but Booth attributed the sluggish start to the Gaels stepping up their game.

"We weren't doing that bad, actually," Booth said. "It was more that they were playing very well and we were trying to match how they were bringing it. I think we just had to take it to another level, because they were playing at a high level."

Paschall and Booth both played in Villanova's last meeting with Purdue, a 79-76 win over the Boilermakers on Nov. 14, 2016. Paschall scored 11 points in just nine minutes of action while Booth had seven points.

Carsen Edwards, who led the Big Ten in scoring at 23.0 points per game, had a team-high 26 on Thursday to pave the way for Purdue in its win over Old Dominion.

It wasn't pretty, however, as Edwards went 7-for-23 from the field against the Monarchs and is 24-for-89 in his last four games.

While Edwards downplayed being hampered by a back ailment, the injury bug bit Boilermakers point guard Nojel Eastern prior to Thursday's game. The sophomore, who is one of the better defensive players in the Big Ten, turned his ankle in pregame warm-ups and was limited in the second half.

"It was something I wish that wouldn't happen, but it's basketball and stuff happens," Eastern said. "I was just trying to get back here and support my team."

Eric Hunter received the start and played 24 minutes and finished with two points, although those statistics don't tell the whole story in the eyes of coach Matt Painter.

"I thought Eric Hunter was great," Painter said. "Even though he didn't score a lot of points, he didn't turn the ball over. He had the best plus-minus on our team. He did a really good job for us."

--Field Level Media

Updated March 22, 2019

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