The Purdue Boilermakers are here to play spoiler in the Midwest Region.
Following a 10-point win over the Vermont Catamounts in the round of 64, the fourth-seeded Boilermakers survived a furious comeback from the Iowa State Cyclones to capture a 80-76 win Saturday night and book a spot in the Sweet 16.
The Cyclones trotted into BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with one of the nation's most potent offenses. The Boilermakers survived waves of excellence from Monte Morris and Deonte Burton after Iowa State erased a 19-point second-half deficit.
Caleb Swanigan was the man of the hour for the Big Ten power, and he flirted with a triple-double to the tune of 20 points, seven assists and 12 rebounds—including a monster board after Dakota Mathias missed the front end of a one-and-one with 11 seconds remaining:
Perhaps most impressive, though, were the multiple ways in which Swanigan collected buckets. Not only did the sophomore power through smaller Iowa State defenders for big finishes at the rim, as NCAA March Madness documented on Twitter, but he filled it up from deep with three triples:
While Swanigan did the heavy lifting for the Boilermakers, the Cyclones leaned on Morris (18 PTS, 9 AST) and Burton to spark an epic comeback that facilitated a dramatic final few minutes.
Burton, in particular, was on another level.
The senior sensation refused to be silenced as the second half progressed, and he injected the Cyclones with a tremendous amount of energy en route to finishing with 25 points and four rebounds.
NCAA March Madness and CBS Sports on Twitter provided a pair of highlights that exemplified Burton's tenacity with the result hanging in the balance:
With Burton and Swanigan trading blows, CBS Sports' Matt Norlander joked he would be fine if everyone else cleared out for those two:
Purdue's Vince Edwards was also worthy of praise considering he piled up a team-high 21 points along with 10 boards and four dimes. Combine those numbers with the ones Swanigan and big man Isaac Haas (14 PTS, 3 REB) posted, and the Boilermakers figure to be a tough out regardless of who their next opponent is.
Speaking of which, the Boilermakers figure to have their eyes trained on the TV Sunday at 5:15 p.m. ET when the Kansas Jayhawks and Michigan State Spartans meet for the right to square off against Purdue.
And while the Boilermakers would undoubtedly like to see the Spartans pull off an upset considering the Jayhawks have elite talents Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III, the Boilermakers proved Saturday they have the firepower necessary to keep pace with the Midwest's top seed.
After the win, Purdue head coach Matt Painter praised Swanigan for his monster effort, as March Madness TV documented on Twitter:
Back in the locker room, Purdue's official Twitter account captured footage of the team's post-game celebration:
"Credit to them," Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm said, according to the Des Moines Register's Tommy Birch. "They did a good job in the first half that probably won the game for them."
The Cyclones' official Twitter account relayed video of Prohm's complete remarks:
"We were a little too late, made a late push and we fell short," Cyclones senior guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long added, per Birch.