Purdue Basketball Wins Nail-Biter, Edge of your Seat Thriller, a Nerve-Wracking Affair

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“Unbelievable game,” said Purdue basketball coach Matt Painter as he opened his postgame press conference.

What an understatement, for an instant classic such as this.

It’s called “March Madness,” for a reason. It’s not “March meditation,” or “March chillaxing,” and Purdue’s 80-76 come from-behind NCAA Tournament round of 32 victory over Iowa State was anything but relaxing.

The Boilermakers’ held a substantial 44-31 halftime lead, and a massive 58-39 lead in the midst of the second half.  Yet down the stretch, the Boilers found themselves trailing the Cyclones 73-71. With this team, in recent years, no lead is ever truly safe until the clock says 00:00.

Ask any Purdue basketball fan, they know this feeling all too well.

Ask any Purdue basketball observer, they have seen this show before; MANY times. On this occasion though, the end result was different. When the Boilers fell behind, veteran guard P.J. Thompson hit a huge trey to put them right back up, at 74-73, and the Boilers never looked back.

Purdue basketball is now in the sweet 16 for the first time since 2010. They will face either Michigan State or Kansas on Thursday in Kansas City. This wasn’t easy, it was nail-biting galore, nerve-wracking in excess, but it’s the very definition of “survive and advance.”

“We maintained our poise when they took that lead. We knew they had a run in them,” said Purdue center Isaac Haas, who had 14 points in just 15 points.

“I was praying,” said Vince Edwards who led the game with 21 points on 9-16 shooting, but I just tried tell myself, stay poised, stay calm, and we kept telling each other, we got this.”

Edwards had ten rebounds, giving him a double double while national player of the year candidate Caleb “Biggie” Swanigan had 20-12; yet another double double, which is commonplace for the reigning B1G player of the year.

Why is this team different from the Purdue basketball teams of recent years when it comes to close outs? Where does the resolve lie? Painter said it’s because their a skills team, or a skills-based team.

Whatever the formula is, their fans will take it, and rest easy tonight.

After doing a lot of heavy breathing most of the game.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times and NBC Chicago.com, contributes to Chicago Tribune.comBoldWGN CLTV and KOZN

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