Purdue, like so many other challengers before, had a shot to take on UConn. Unfortunately, like all the others, the Boilermakers ran out of steam.

In the first half, both sides opened up with a strong showing on both ends of the floor with Zach Edey showing out once again. He shot 7-for-12 before the break, but a lack of 3-point success and support from the rest of the Boilermakers allowed UConn to build a lead.

Even with Edey’s efforts, the Huskies carried a 6-point lead into the break and slowly but steadily pulled away in the second half. Remarkably, it wasn’t a dominant shooting effort that paved the way for UConn’s ultimate win, it was points in the paint and a strong group effort on defense.

Purdue battled all the way but was unable to end UConn’s 2-year run of dominance in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies secured their second straight win with every victory by double digits in the tournament and a 75-60 win in the national title game.

Here are the key takeaways from a Purdue season to remember but a national championship loss in Arizona:

Zach Edey delivers one final performance in NCAA Tournament to remember

Facing the Huskies, a lot of attention was placed on the big-man battle between Edey and Donovan Clingan. In the first half, that battle belonged to Edey with multiple big buckets and regularly frustrating Clingan.

Even after cooling off in the second half, Edey was still the best weapon at the disposal of Purdue. He would finish with a game-high 37 points on 15-for-25 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and 2 blocks. Once again, one of the most impressive aspects of Edey’s night was his ability to remain on the court for almost the entirety of the game.

Without Edey on the court, Purdue would have been blown out of the gym. And, in the process, Edey delivered his 7th straight NCAA Tournament game of 20+ points and 10+ rebounds, extending his own record. He reached those numbers in every game of this tournament.

Questions of Edey’s prospects for the NBA will linger moving forward, but there’s no denying he just produced one of the best individual seasons and tournament runs in NCAA history.

3-point battle looms large in outcome

Coming into this game, the 3-point battle was circled as a key factor in the game. Purdue, at 40.6% from 3-point range and over 8 made 3’s a game in the tournament, was going up against one of the best 3-point defensive teams in the country.

In Monday’s game, the battle belonged to the Huskies, but it was more about what they didn’t do than what they did.

Facing Purdue and Edey’s prowess from the post, UConn left Clingan and the rest of their defenders in a one-on-one situation down low throughout the game. The result? A lack of attempts from 3-point range for the Boilermakers.

When the game ended, Purdue had just 7 3-point attempts and finished 1-for-7 from deep. That strategy paid off big time.

Without the efficient looks from deep, the Boilermakers did not have a counterpunch to throw at the Huskies outside of Edey. Remarkably, UConn finished less than 30% (6-for-22) from 3-point range, but the defensive focus on limiting Purdue’s role players was the key.

Points in the paint tilts toward UConn

Even with Edey dominating in the paint, Purdue was unable to win the points in the paint battle. Coming out of the second half, UConn didn’t shy away from the paint but opted to attack the rim around Edey.

In a true testament to the dominance in the paint, the Huskies had just 2 fastbreak points the entire game. (Purdue had none.) It didn’t matter with UConn methodically and surgically breaking the Boilermakers down throughout the game and especially after the break.

Four of UConn’s players finished with double-digit point totals, and just one of those players (Tristen Newton) accounted for multiple 3-pointers. Stephon Castle was 5-for-9 inside the arc, Cam Spencer was 4-for-8 in that area, and Donovan Clingan was 5-for-7. Hassan Diarra who finished with 9 points finished 3-for-4 inside the arc.

Purdue tangled with a giant and gave everything the Boilermakers had, but there was no stopping the UConn juggernaut for a second straight season.