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Canada basketball
Holly MacKenzie

Zach Edey, Aaliyah Edwards punch their tickets to the Final Four

NCAA - Men's


Apr 5, 2024

Zach Edey and Aaliyah Edwards continue to deliver their basketball best under the NCAA’s brightest lights in March.

The Canadian seniors led their respective teams in clinching tickets to the Final Four in this year’s Men’s and Women’s NCAA Tournaments. As they have all season, Edey and Edwards were instrumental in the Purdue Boilermakers and UConn Huskies advancing to the final weekend of March Madness.

On Sunday, Edey exploded for a career-high 40 points to go with 16 rebounds on the men's side as Purdue outlasted Tennessee 72-66 to make the program’s first Final Four appearance since 1980. In a game that featured six ties and eight lead changes, Edey’s presence around the rim on both sides of the floor was the difference. The 7-foot-4 bigman was 13-for-21 from the floor, making 14-of-22 free throws while adding an assist, steal and a blocked shot in 39 minutes.

While Edey’s 40 points were the headline, making up more than half of Purdue’s points in the game, his lone block of the game sealed the Boilermakers' victory. With Purdue clinging to a five-point, 69-64 advantage with 34 seconds on the clock, Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht drove inside looking for a layup. He found Edey instead. 

The career-high comes in a senior season where Edey has averaged 25.0 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. After averaging 30.0 points, 16.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in four tournament games thus far this season, the Toronto native was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Midwest Regional. 

Prior to Sunday’s game, Purdue defeated Gonzaga 80-68 on Friday in the Sweet Sixteen. Edey scored 27 points on 10-for-15 field goals to go with 14 rebounds in the victory. Ryan Nembhard had 14 points and seven assists for Gonzaga in the loss.

Next up for Edey and the Boilermakers is a meeting with No. 11 seeded NC State on Saturday, Apr. 6 at 6 p.m. ET. 

One of the most anticipated days in women’s college basketball history more than exceeded the hype, as Iowa defeated LSU and UConn defeated USC in an Easter Monday blockbuster doubleheader.

Just a few weeks removed from announcing her decision to declare for the 2024 WNBA Draft, Aaliyah Edwards has helped lead UConn back to the Final Four. The Kingston, Ontario native scored 24 points in UConn’s 80-73 victory over USC and freshman phenom JuJu Watkins to help Paige Bueckers (28 points, ten rebounds, six assists) lead the Huskies to an NCAA-record 23rd Final Four appearance. Edwards played all 40 minutes in Monday’s contest, shooting 7-for-13 from the floor and 10-for-14 from the free throw line as she added six rebounds, an assist and a blocked shot to help No. 3 seeded UConn pull away from No. 1 seed USC for good in the final minutes.

Leading 65-64 with 4:36 remaining, Bueckers spearheaded an 11-0 Huskies run, assisted by a three-point play from Edwards to give UConn a 76-64 edge with 1:25 remaining. UConn closed things out as Edwards sealed the victory at the line, making a pair of free throws with four seconds remaining to extinguish USC’s Final Four hopes.

Edwards entered the tournament averaging 17.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. The Huskies have needed each of them in a season where they have weathered injury after injury, having just seven players available in Sunday’s victory to advance to the Final Four.

Prior to Monday’s victory against USC, the Huskies outlasted Duke, 53-45, in a grind-it-out victory on Saturday. Edwards finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, two steals, and two blocked shots.

Up next for the Huskies will be Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes in a Friday night Final Four matchup on Apr. 5 at 9 p.m. ET.