Central Indiana sweep: Bulldogs and Boilers advance in NCAA Tournament
MILWAUKEE, Wisc. – Vincent Edwards wasn’t about to drop to 0-3 in the NCAA Tournament.
The Purdue junior took over in the second half, scoring 15 of his 21 points after the break, helping lead the Boilers to an 80-70 win over Vermont.
If you think the recent first round exits weren’t weighing on the Gold and Black, think again.
“Man, I’ve been sitting in front of you ready to cry the last two years,” exhaled Edwards. “Honestly, it feels great to finally get past that first round. It’s something that’s been haunting us as a group.”
“Absolutely there is (a sigh of relief),” said Dakota Mathias. “It’s all we’ve heard the last two years. Definitely a monkey off our back.”
“It’s hard to get tournament wins, period,” added head coach Matt Painter. “Ask the most successful team in the country. They’ll tell you the same thing.”
Nationwide, Butler has been one of the more successful teams in recent years in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs’ 76-64 victory over Winthrop gives them a 1st round win in 10 of their last 11 appearances.
“I was proud of our guys effort today,” said head coach Chris Holtmann, who is now 3-0 in the first round with Butler. “I thought we did some good things against a quality team.”
One of the best things was the shooting of senior Avery Woodson. Playing in his first ever NCAA Tournament game, the senior transfer from Memphis scored 18 points while tying a career-high with six three-pointers made in the Bulldogs’ win.
“I was just the end result of great ball movement,” said Woodson after the win. “Our play makers did a great job of getting me open. Credit goes to them.”
Senior Tyler Lewis aided the Butler offensive effort with a game-high eight assists.
“Coach (Holtmann) is always on me about my pace and controlling the pace out there on the court,” said Lewis. “That’s what I wanted to do.”
The Bulldogs advance to take on Middle Tennessee State, which pulled the 12-5 upset on Minnesota. Purdue will face the winner of the late game between Iowa State and Nevada.
“We didn’t come to the tournament to win just one game,” explained Purdue’s P.J. Thompson. “You can’t get stuck on this win.”