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Fresh off liberating first-round wins, Purdue and Texas to battle it out

With first-round hurdles safely in the rearview mirror, third-seeded Purdue and #6 seed Texas can focus directly on their second-round East Region matchup Sunday in Milwaukee.

Purdue (28-7), upset in the opening round last season by #13 seed North Texas, defeated Yale 78-56 on Friday behind 22 points from Jaden Ivey and Zach Edey’s 16 points and nine rebounds.

Texas (22-11) topped Virginia Tech 81-73 for its first NCAA Tournament win since 2014. The Longhorns were upset last season in the opener as the #3 seed, 53-52 by 14th-seeded Abilene Christian. Texas also lost in the first round in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

“We talked about it,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said of last season’s early exit. “Obviously we talked about it at the beginning of the season, just the little things and the mistakes we made in that game and how things come down to whether you’re considered a winner or loser over one possession or one play. You see that in this tournament a lot.”

Purdue built a 13-point halftime lead and then took control with a 15-0 run in the second half, pushing the lead to 63-39. The Boilermakers also went to the line 33 times, making 27, to just 6 of 11 for the Bulldogs.

Ivey, who hit 6 of 13 shots and went 7 of 9 from the line against Yale, averages 17.6 points per game. The 7-foot-4 Edey averages 14.6 points and 7.8 boards in just 19 minutes per contest. Trevion Williams, who had 10 rebounds against Yale, averages 11.6 points and 7.4 boards.

The Boilermakers hold a 9.5 rebounds-per-game advantage over opponents.

Andrew Jones scored 21 points, including 5 of 7 from beyond the arc, to lead Texas past Virginia Tech. The Longhorns, who had five players in double figures, were 10 of 19 from deep.

Virginia Tech entered third in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage at 39.3 percent, but Texas limited the Hokies to 4 of 12 from beyond the arc.

“I thought to hold that team to four made 3-point shots was really where our defense was on point,” Texas coach Chris Beard said. “And then offensively, when we can get the five guys to double figures scoring, I think we can play with anybody in the country.”

It was the first tournament win for Texas since edging Arizona State 87-85 on a last-second shot in 2014 — also in Milwaukee.

“Just so happy for our guys that never won a game in a tournament, never been in the tournament,” said Beard. “This whole deal’s about our players. I think after the season it will be a chance to reflect, but we’re in this tournament to win six games. We’ve always thought the toughest game’s the first one, so obviously we got a day to prepare and we’ve got to play against another one of the best teams in the country.”

Beard, in his first season with the Longhorns, spent 10 seasons at Texas Tech, leading the Red Raiders to the NCAA title game in 2019 and the Elite Eight in 2018.

Timmy Allen leads the Longhorns balanced scoring with 12.4 points per game, as well as a team-best 6.5 boards. Jones averages 11.1 points and Marcus Carr 11.0.

Texas lost three straight before the tournament, but had regular-season wins over Kansas, a #1 seed, and Tennessee, a #3 seed.

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