They didn’t expect it to go down like that. All momentum was lost once Tennessee came back from an 18-point deficit in a flash.
In games like that, it’s hard to stay focused and under control. For many of the Purdue basketball players, that was the case. But, one of them wasn’t about to give up. That player?
Purdue entered halftime up 12 with Cline only having scored 5 points. It was the Carsen Edwards show and Ryan stepped aside to let his teammate do what he does so well: Stepping up in big games.
In this game, it was different though. Ryan Cline was the one who stepped up when the team needed him.
Let’s fast forward to 5 minutes left in the game. Admiral Schofield just hit a corner three to put Tennessee up 3 and if you looked at Purdue’s bench, faith was hard to find. But, Ryan Cline changed all that and started to take over.
When Ryan Cline starts hitting those kinds of shots, it’s over. Every time Tennessee went down and scored a bucket, Purdue would come right back and find their hot hand.
And then there was this final shot that he hit…
Grant Williams switched onto him and Cline tried to take advantage, but continued to fail to get any separation. And then as you see him put the ball down and drive to the lane, he hit Grant with a MEAN step-back to tie the game with 30 seconds to go.
This would be Ryan Cline’s 7th three on the night. It would also be his last bucket. Carsen Edwards ended up hitting a couple clutch free throws to send it to OT and the team as a whole played extraordinarily well in OT, but it was Ryan Cline who led the team when they were down. When they thought all hope was lost.
As Purdue continues to move on deeper into the NCAA Tournament, it will be the step-back that Purdue fans will remember and one they will never forget.