Local Sports News: April 10, 2024

Purdue University Men’s Basketball falls in the National Title Game to the University of Connecticut
The Connecticut Huskies beat the Purdue Boilermakers in the NCAA national championship game, 75-60, on Monday night at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Playing in the final game for the first time since 1969, Purdue couldn’t deliver the school’s first NCAA men’s basketball championship, while UConn became the first repeat champion since the Florida Gators in 2006-07. “It hurts because these opportunities are slim,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. “It’s a lot different than last year when you put yourself in a great position and you don’t take advantage of it. We put ourselves in a great position now and we took advantage of it, we just came up a little bit short to a great team.”

National player of the year Zach Edey started strong, scoring 16 of the Boilermakers’ first 25 points as the two teams exchanged the lead throughout the first 13 minutes of the game. Purdue took a 23-21 lead on an Edey jumper, with eight minutes to go in the half before the Huskies went on an 11-2 run to take a 32-25 advantage. Braden Smith hit back-to-back jumpers, including the Boilers’ only three-pointer of the game to rally within two points, but UConn scored the last two baskets of the first half to go to the locker room up, 36-30.

The Huskies took control in the opening minutes of the second half as Edey and Purdue went cold, going scoreless for over 10 minutes of game clock. Back-to-back alley-oop dunks from Tristan Newton to Samson Johnson put UConn up 47-34 five minutes into the second. The Huskies then started to put the game out of reach with a Stephon Castle three-pointer to make it 59-42 with just under nine minutes to play in the game. Newton paced the Huskies with 20 points, while Castle and Spencer contributed 15 and 11 points respectively. Edey led the Boilermakers with 37 points and 10 rebounds. Smith added 12 points and eight assists.

Sophomore guard Fletcher Loyer was held scoreless, while grad transfer Lance Jones was limited to five points. The Boilers shot just 1-of-7 from three-point range, while only getting two points off their bench, a vicious putback dunk by Cam Heide. “They just did a really good job of guarding the three,” Smith said. “We got in the paint plenty of times, we just didn’t convert on a lot of them. I thought we did our job pretty well and they also did their job pretty well, guarding the three, but we just have to convert on those in the paint.” The loss brings an to end the career of Edey, one of the most decorated players in Purdue history. He leaves as the program’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder. “You can say whatever you want about me, but you can never say I didn’t give it 100 percent every single time I stepped on the floor,” said Edey. “That’s what I’ll hang my hat on. I came in and I never didn’t give it 100 percent.”

All Five Indiana State Men’s Basketball Starters enter the Transfer Portal
Following the NIT finals loss and the exit of Head Coach Josh Schertz, the starting lineup of the Indiana State men’s basketball team has entered the NCAA Transfer Portal. It began with Jayson Kent and Julian Larry entering the portal Tuesday morning. Those two are players who will graduate in May and become grad-transfers. Indianapolis’ own Ryan Conwell followed suit around noon, then Isaiah Swope and big man Robbie Avila was the last domino to fall. When combined with three other bench players entering the portal, that brings the total number of Sycamores seeking a possible transfer to eight. Those three other players are Auguatinas Kiudulas, Eli Shetlar, and Masen Miller who entered the portal on Monday.

Tuesday Night’s Indiana-Ball State Baseball Game Canceled due to Weather
The midweek baseball contested slated for Tuesday Night between Indiana and Ball State was canceled due to inclement weather in the area. As of right now the two teams will not reschedule this contest. IU turns its attention to a Big Ten series this weekend at Bart Kaufman Field against Penn State. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 6:00 PM.

Indiana University Rowing’s Varsity Eight earns Big Ten Boat of the Week
Indiana rowing’s top boat, the Varsity Eight, was named the Big Ten Boat of the Week as announced by the conference office Tuesday. The V8 crew earned one of four victories against No. 18 Oregon State on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. IU’s V8 held off a late surge by the Beavers to win the head-to-head race by one second in a time of 6:00.04. Indiana’s Second Varsity Eight, Varsity Four and Novice Eight crews also captured wins at the weekend. IU’s V8 lineup featured senior coxswain Katherine Nelson, senior Sophie Bowden, sophomore Emily Bowden, graduate student Isabel Velasquez, redshirt senior Piper Maaka, freshman Nico Daly, graduate student Annabel Oertel, senior Megan Mills and freshman Maddison Shanks. The Hoosier Varsity Eight owns a 9-3 head-to-head record through three regattas and a 3-3 record against ranked opponents. Indiana returns to action April 19-20 at the Big Ten Invitational in Sarasota, Florida.

Indiana University’s Sarah Stone Named Big Ten Softball Player of the Week
Indiana Junior Sarah Stone was named the Big Ten’s Player of the Week by the conference office Monday afternoon. Stone earned the honor for her outstanding weekend from April 5-7 when the Hoosiers swept Michigan State in East Lansing. For the weekend, Stone went 6-for-10 (.600) at the plate with five RBI and two home runs while scoring five runs herself. In the Friday win, Stone had her best performance of the season, going 4-for-4 on the day with two home runs and four RBI. The second home run of the day came in the top of the eighth inning when the Hoosiers were tied with Michigan State 1-1, Stone hit a go-ahead home run to put Indiana up 4-1. The Hoosiers would go on to win the game, 6-2, in eight innings.  

Two Indiana University Baseball players take home Big Ten Weekly Honors
Indiana infielders Tyler Cerny and Joey Brenczweski were instrumental in a productive 3-1 week, helping the Hoosiers to a victory over No. 17 Indiana State and a road series win at Maryland. Their performances were recognized by the conference as the pair won Big Ten Player of the Week and Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards respectively.

Cerny provided a game-tying grand slam in Tuesday’s game against Indiana State, helping to spark a massive comeback to take down the visitors. He went 9-20 (.450) on the week with 11 runs scored, six RBIs, three doubles and one home run. He currently leads the team in hits (50), RBIs (38), doubles (14) and total bases (82). He is also tied for the team lead with 38 runs scored. He had a run of six-straight games with at least two hits through Saturday’s 14-2 win over Maryland. The Greenwood, Ind. native is among the top-10 in multiple Big Ten offensive categories including hits (2nd), runs scored (3rd), RBIs (2nd) and doubles (2nd). Cerny joins his fellow sophomore teammate, outfielder Devin Taylor, in earning Big Ten Player of the Week honors. Two different Hoosiers also won the award in 2023 (Pyne, Tibbitts).

Brenczewski, who played almost the entire weekend at first base, produced an outstanding offensive weekend to help IU to its series victory. He went 6-for-16 (.375) through four games last week with seven runs scored and six RBIs. He recorded his first career four-hit day on Friday at Maryland, becoming the third IU freshman to do so in the past two weeks. The Fishers, Ind. had to step up this season in the absence of AJ Shepard and Brock Tibbitts fully making the transition to first base after growing up as a shortstop. He is the ninth different IU freshman to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week since Jeff Mercer became head coach in 2019. He is the seventh different player on the current roster to do so. IU’s outstanding weekend helped propel it right back into the at-large discussion and the Big Ten title race. Its RPI of 56 is among the top five in the conference and puts it in position to make a run at an NCAA Tournament bid down the stretch. 

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