Quick Day One Recap: NCAA Tournament Midwest Region
Even though there were only two games from the Midwest played on Thursday, it certainly was not an uninteresting day. In game one, Purdue outlasted an upset with a hot second half against a competitive Vermont team. The second game was a rollar coaster ride as Iowa State took control in long stretches to get the double-digit win over Nevada.
(4) Purdue vs. (13) Vermont
With Vermont winning their past 21 games and Purdue coming into the tournament after being bounced out early the past two years, a competitive environment was expected. The Catamounts came into the game a confident 13 seed, and that was clear from the beginning. About 5 minutes into the game, Payton Henson made a three to give Vermont their first lead of the game. This took place in the middle of a 13-0 run to force Purdue into a timeout. The Catamount’s Anthony Lamb and Trae Bell-Haynes combined for 25 points in the first half and Purdue struggled with turnovers, committing eight in the first 20 minutes. Even with that, the 11 point, nine rebound effort by Caleb Swanigan kept the Boilermakers up at the half – 37-36.
Purdue started the second half making three of four shots and carried that momentum through the rest of the game. Vermont struggled with turnovers after halftime and even with Lamb and Bell-Haynes both having a fantastic game statistically, it just was not enough. Vince Edwards helped lead the Boilermakers with 21 points, along with Swanigan’s double-double (16 PTS, 14 REB).
FINAL: Purdue 80, Vermont 70
(5) Iowa State vs. (12) Nevada
Entering this game, Iowa State had won their last nine of ten, while Nevada had won the past nine straight games. Even though this game was played between a five and 12 seed, it sure didn’t feel like it at some points. After the first five minutes, these two teams were tied 7-7. Iowa State soon took control of the tempo though, and forced turnovers that turned into points. The Cyclones shot 58.6% in the first half and secured a double digit lead after the first 20 minutes – 40-27.
The second half is where things got intereseting. Nevada cut a 15 point lead down to six about five minutes into the second half while going on a 9-2 run. The Cyclones began struggling with shots and Nevada took advantage of it. However, there were enough long stretches where Iowa State was able to push tempo and get shots up, which is where they were able to extend their shrinking leads. This back-and-forth happened many times, but the Wolf Pack always got the short end of the stick. Jordan Caroline and Cameron Oliver’s combined 42 points just wasn’t enough for Nevada. The Cyclones took the first round win led by Monte Morris who had 19 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.
FINAL: Iowa State 84, Nevada 73