MILWAUKEE- Matt Painter’s Purdue Boilermakers suffered first-round losses in each of their two previous trips to the NCAA Tournament, but the Big Ten’s regular-season champions wouldn’t be outdone Thursday night in Milwaukee.
Vincent Edwards led Purdue with 21 points and Caleb Swanigan recorded his 27th double-double (Big Ten record) with 16 points and 14 rebounds as the Boilermakers eventually pulled away for an 80-70 victory.
Vermont’s Anthony Lamb, Payton Henson and Trae Bell-Haynes kept the Catamounts in the game, combining for 48 of their team’s 70 points.
Vermont hung with Purdue throughout the second half, but the Boilers refused to give up the lead. Back-to-back three-point baskets by Carsen Edwards and PJ Thompson extended Purdue’s lead from 5 to 11 to put the game out of reach.
Purdue will face the winner of the Iowa State/Nevada game Saturday for a chance to go to the Sweet 16 next weekend in Kansas City.