By Peter Gleason
It sure wasn’t pretty.
And it wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.
Purdue handed Villanova its largest NCAA tournament defeat in program history and the second-largest by a defending national champion.
Purdue’s 87-61 victory was fueled by Carsen Edwards, who scored 42 points and set a school record with nine 3-pointers. It was also the highest individual offensive output in the NCAA tournament since Gerry McNamara scored 43 points for Syracuse in 2004.
Jay Wright said he and his staff failed to prepare sixth-seeded Villanova for yesterday’s ugly game.
“We just, as a staff, did not get our guys … we tried to make them understand their ability to hit 3s and execute their offense,” Wright said. “We just did not have them ready from the start.”
Overall, the No. 3 Boilermakers connected on 53.3 percent of their shots from beyond the arc and made 13 of 16 free throw attempts. Villanova (26-10) struggled throughout the matchup.
“The game’s humbling, and it’s good for us sometimes,” Wright said about the record-setting loss for his program, which cut down the nets in two of the past three seasons. “You don’t choose to be in this position. When you win, there’s a guy on the other side working just as hard as you, and you gotta be respectful of them and understand you could be on the other side of it. And today we are.”
Veteran leaders Eric Paschall and Phil Booth combined to make just 39 percent of their shots. The team made only 11 of its 38 3-point attempts.
As Villanova struggled, Purdue (25-9) capitalized, entering halftime with a 43-24 lead.
Paschall, an NBA prospect and a key member of last season’s national title team, shed tears on the podium as he answered questions about the loss.
“Definitely not thinking about any type of legacy right now,” Paschall said. “It’s just hard, going out like this.”