Virginia survives, reaches Final 4
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — From embarrassment to exhilaration. From early exit to regional champ. From bracket busters to net cutters.
Virginia, the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed a year ago, survived overtime and Carson Edwards’ staggering 3-point show Saturday night to make it to the Final Four for the first time since 1984.
The top-seeded Cavaliers needed a last-ditch buzzer-beater to send the game in overtime, and then finally contained Edwards in the extra period to hang on for an 80-75 victory over Purdue in the South Region final.
The Cavaliers (33-3) redeemed themselves from last year’s loss to UMBC by relying on veterans, sound defense, poise, controlling the ball and a failure to be rattled even when the Boilermakers had the chance to ice the game in regulation at the foul line.
Their balance and experience allowed them to overcome a brilliant performance by Edwards, whose 10 3-pointers were one shy of the NCAA Tournament record. Edwards finished with 42 points for third-seeded Purdue (26-10) and none of his teammates scored more than seven each.
Edwards was named the Most Outstanding Player of the South regional, becoming the first player to win the honor from a losing team since Stephen Curry in 2008. Fitting, too, since Edwards scored the most points (139) through four NCAA Tournament game since 2000; Curry had the previous most with 128 points for Davidson.
De’Andre Hunter scored four points in overtime, including the go-ahead layup with 29 seconds remaining, while Kyle Guy and Kihei Clark each added two free throws as Virginia finally shook loose from Purdue.