Win for the ages: Virginia buzzer-beater forces OT, ‘Hoos top Purdue, headed to Final Four
The little things helped the ‘Hoos overcome a breathtaking effort from Purdue guard Carsen Edwards in an 80-75 overtime win that sends UVA basketball to its first Final Four in 35 years.
Edwards had 42 points on the night, shooting 14-of-25 from the floor and 10-of-19 from three-point range, most of the offense coming off the dribble on shots well beyond the three-point line.
His last three, with 1:10 to go, banked in from the right wing, putting Purdue up 69-67.
Kyle Guy missed from three with 46 seconds to go, and Purdue had the chance to put the game away, but Edwards missed a three-pointer with 22 seconds left.
Grady Eifert corralled the miss, and got the ball to Ryan Cline, who was fouled with 16 seconds to go.
Cline, a 71-percent foul shooter on the season, missed the back end of the one-and-one, leaving the door open for Virginia.
But Purdue coach Matt Painter played strategy, having his team foul Ty Jerome before he could get off a potential game-tying three.
Jerome made the front end with 5.9 seconds left, and then appeared to miss the second intentionally.
The rebound was tipped into the backcourt, and chased down by Clark, who found Diakite in the lane.
Diakite got the shot off just before the buzzer, and it went through, sending the game to overtime tied at 70.
The extra period was a back-and-forth affair into the final minute. An Edwards jumper with 42 seconds left put the Boilermakers on top, 75-74.
De’Andre Hunter answered on UVA’s next possession with a driving layup that put the Cavaliers up 76-75.
Edwards missed a three with nine seconds left, and Kyle Guy chased down the rebound and was fouled with five seconds to go.
He made both ends to put the margin to three.
Painter called timeout and drew up a play that had Edwards rushing the ball upcourt to set up a give-and-go aimed at getting him one last look for a three, but the pass to Cline bounded off Cline’s hands and out of bounds with 2.1 seconds left.
Clark was fouled on the Virginia inbounds, and his two free throws with 1.5 seconds left, his only points of the game, sealed it.
Among the heroes for Virginia: Guy, who suffered what appeared to be an ankle sprain late in the first half, at the tail end of what looked to be another disappointing night for the junior, to that point just 1-for-6 shooting for the night, and 8-of-44 in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
The MVP for the ‘Hoos may be the members of the training staff who fixed Guy up and got him back out there. Guy made his first four three-point attempts of the second half on his way to putting up 19 second-half points on 7-of-12 shooting.
Guy would finish with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Jerome had 24 points and seven assists for the Cavaliers, playing all 45 minutes.
Diakite, in addition to sinking, with apologies to Barry Parkhill, what will now undoubtedly be viewed as the biggest bucket in Virginia basketball history, added 14 points and seven rebounds.
Diakite averaged 13.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in the South Regional, shooting 68.6 percent from the floor.
Hunter had 10 points, including the eventual go-ahead bucket in OT.
Jack Salt, who had played a total of 10 minutes in Virginia’s first three South Regional wins, logged 34 Saturday night, and had five points and five rebounds.
The smallest guy on the court, Clark, all 5’9” (officially) of him, made the play of the night, and the play no doubt of his life, on a night when he didn’t score from the floor, but clinched the Final Four berth from the line, and had five assists and no turnovers in 24 minutes.
And Virginia, a year removed from becoming the first one seed to lose to a 16, is in the Final Four, and if that had to happen so that this could happen, then, redemption is sweet.
Story by Chris Graham
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