No. 16 Virginia Tech, No. 23 Purdue set for Charleston title
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Carsen Edwards was amazed by the support for Purdue at the Charleston Classic.
The junior guard responded with another memorable show.
Edwards scored 29 points to help No. 23 Purdue beat Davidson 79-58 on Friday night in the tournament semifinals.
Next up for the Boilermakers (4-0) is Sunday night’s championship game against No. 16 Virginia Tech (3-0), which advanced with an 88-60 victory over Northeastern.
Edwards was relentless, pushing the pace while leading Purdue to its second win by 20 or more points in the tournament. He went 6 for 12 from 3-point range in his fifth straight game with 20 or more points.
Edwards and Purdue got plenty of support while building on their perfect start. Most of the fans in the crowd of more than 4,000 were dressed in the familiar gold and black of the Boilermakers.
“It’s awesome,” Edwards said. “It’s pretty cool to see people do this.”
There was even a courtside group decked out in gold T-shirts with Edwards’ smiling face on them.
“I had never seen those before,” he said.
The Hokies (3-0) are playing for a tournament title for the first time in coach Buzz Williams’ five seasons.
They seized control in the first half against Northeastern, going from trailing 24-23 to leading 46-26 at the break.
It was a goal to go far in Charleston, said Virginia Tech guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
“None of us here have been able to do it, so this means a lot,” said Alexander-Walker, who finished with 20 points.
Northeastern will play Davidson for third place.
Ahmed Hill began Virginia Tech’s big first-half run with a 3-pointer, then closed it with an even longer 3 that swished through at the halftime buzzer.
It was the second straight game that the Hokies closed the first half strongly — and capped it with a long buzzer-beater.
On Thursday against Ball State, Virginia Tech broke a 24-all tie with a 19-5 run over the final seven minutes of the half. Justin Robinson hit a long 3 as his teammates headed into the locker room.
“I got excited,” Williams said of Hill’s 3, which caused him to break out in a brief dance.
Purdue coach Matt Painter said Virginia Tech is hard-nosed on defense and won’t give up easy baskets.
“When you play them, you know you better bring your lunch pail,” he said.
ALABAMA 79, BALL STATE 61
Tevin Mack scored 20 points and Alabama bounced back nicely from its first loss of the season.
Mack went 5 for 9 from 3-point range.
Alabama (3-1) plays Wichita State for fifth place Sunday.
Ball State (1-3) lost its second straight in the tournament. It will try to avoid going 0-for-Charleston against Appalachian State.
WICHITA STATE 82, APPALACHIAN STATE 76
Markis McDuffie had 17 of his 24 points in the second half, helping Wichita State rally for the win.
The Shockers (2-2) closed with a 21-10 run after trailing 66-61.
Justin Forrest had 28 points for the Mountaineers (1-3).