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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 13 There were nice senior-specific touches throughout. During the fire-up video just before the starting line- ups — the one that features Mackey Arena — the four seniors were added in, asking and answering the whose- house-our-house exchange. During the starting lineups, sophomore Carsen Ed- wards went first and the four seniors followed, finishing with Vincent Edwards. Instead of giving each player a curtain call, Coach Matt Painter substituted them all at the same time, with 4:30 remaining, to one massive ovation. Even Minnesota coach Richard Pitino shifted farther down the sideline to be able to give each senior a handshake or pat on the back before each headed down the line toward Purdue's bench. During the game, all four of the seniors' numbers were spotlighted in the ceiling corners of Mackey: No. 11, No. 12, No. 31 and No. 44. Mathias said it was "a very weird, emotional day," knowing it was the final home game but trying to keep the focus on where the focus should be: Winning. Each senior certainly played a piece in that goal, as he has all season and, of course, the last four. Mathias tied career highs with 25 points, seven three-pointers and two blocks, was one short of his re- bounding high with seven and also had four assists to zero turnovers in 29 minutes. Edwards, who'd missed the previous two games with an ankle injury but was no way missing this one, scored 10 points, with two assists, two rebounds and no turn- overs in 25 minutes. Haas had 13 points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes, in- cluding a typical mini-stretch of post domination. Thompson stuck a three-pointer in the second half for his only bucket in 21 minutes but was, as always, a steady- ing presence when he was on the floor. "All of us coming out those first couple minutes were a little nervous, a little excited," Mathias said. "Once we settled in, I thought we played a good game. Senior night, our last night here, talking to everybody like we did, having good speeches, it was just a special day, I think." The speeches were significant in their emotion, sincer- ity and thoughtfulness. Edwards was first — probably because he is alphabet- ically — and went through a list of mentors, supporters, coaches and teammates. But he broke down — burying his face in the white towel he was holding — when he started to thank his family. "It was really emotional," Edwards said of the day. "Ev- erything we were doing, it was last this, last that. You didn't know how to feel." Haas already had been crying when Edwards handed him the mic. He tried to gather himself — and did for a while — but then broke down when he started to thank the Purdue community for helping his sister, Erin. She has epilepsy, and the family was allowed to raise money through GoFundMe to purchase a seizure service dog for her nearly nine months ago. The response was quick and emphatic: More than $22,000 raised. Isaac Haas already had thanked folks via social media, but this, this was a special time. It was with his words. It was in person. And it, seemed, with every fiber of his be- ing. So, naturally, he got emotional. "It's been amazing," Haas said afterward, when he was composed. "All that time from when she got that dog until now, I've just been waiting to say a big thank you. Senior night was the perfect way to look at those people and say thank you for always being there for my family and giving and not expecting anything back. That just speaks volumes to me." Mathias, in very Mathias-like organized fashion, had a list and methodically thanked a variety of important people who helped him to get this point. That included his fiancée, Gabby Gary, the daughter of assistant coach Greg. It includ- ed athletic trainer Chad Young, whom Mathias sat next to on the bench after he exited the game for the final time. It Charles Jischke/Purdue Athletics Vincent Edwards consoles an emotional Issac Haas during the senior center's speech. It was an especially emotional night for those two.

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