Career-high from Edwards, lockdown defense power Purdue to Sweet 16

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT - MARCH 23: Carsen Edwards #3 of the Purdue Boilermakers attempts a lay up against the Villanova Wildcats in the second half during the second round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at XL Center on March 23, 2019 in Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

HARTFORD, Conn. — There’s no argument who the star of the show was for Purdue in the Boilers’ NCAA second round win over Villanova.

Carsen Edwards thrashed the reigning champions, going 12-21 from the floor, including a 9-16 performance beyond the three-point line for a career-high 42 points, leading the Gold and Black into the Sweet 16.

“I feel like I have something to prove every day,” said Edwards after the win. “I’m gonna continue to work. I still have a lot to learn, lot to improve on, but I just try to prove myself every game. Not just me, but as a team. We want to improve ourselves and get better.”

“He was spectacular,” added head coach Matt Painter. “He was really good tonight. Anytime you get that kind of a special performance from somebody, you want that to lead to a win.”

As impressive as Edwards was offensively, the Boilers were just as impressive defensively as a team, holding Villanova to 61 points, the Wildcats’ third-worst output of the season, in shooting 35% from the floor and 29% from beyond the arc.

“When you play like that against the defending national champs, it’s a lot of fun,” said Purdue senior Ryan Cline. “Especially in the first half. When we’re playing such good defense, it just feeds into our offense.”

“It feels so good to do it with a win like this,” added sophomore Matt Haarms. “Such an amazing performance from everybody, top to bottom. I’m really proud of this team.”

Purdue will now await their Sweet 16 fate, and are set to face the winner of Sunday’s matchup between 10-seed Iowa and 2-seed Tennessee. That game will be played in Louisville with a spot in the national quarterfinals, the Elite Eight, on the line.

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