Fletcher Loyer's big game
Loyer's 27 points matched his career-high and constituted a breakout performance for the sophomore guard after a slow start to his 2023-24 season. In Monday's quarterfinal win over Gonzaga, he finished 0 for 6 from the field with three turnovers and just one assist in 24 minutes. Thus, he entered Tuesday's game shooting just 33.3% from the floor for the season after he also struggled down the stretch last year.
But against the Volunteers, Loyer looked like the potential secondary star the Boilermakers so desperately need to compliment Edey. He scored Purdue's first seven points and scored seven more over the final 6:41. In between he hit free throws, timely 3-pointers and corralled six rebounds while logging 36 minutes. His "and-one" jumper at the at the 5:05 mark was particularly clutch as it came in response to a rare made 3-pointer from Tennessee. The former four-star prospect showed enticing glimpses of his offensive potential last season, and those glimpses reappeared again in a huge moment against the Volunteers.