DETROIT — Carsen Edwards scored 15 points and second-seeded Purdue eventually shook off the rust from a long layoff and routed Cal State Fullerton 74-48 Friday to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Playing for the first time in nearly two weeks after losing to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament final, the Boilermakers (29-6) struggled to make shots down low and beyond the 3-point line and simply looked out of sync.
Purdue advanced to face the Arkansas-Butler winner. But, they lost their star big man Isaac Haas.
The Boilers announced after the game that Haas suffered a fractured elbow and will miss the rest of the tournament.
Haas fell on the elbow midway through the second half while battling for a rebound. He would remain in the game but X-rays revealed after the contest a fracture in his elbow that will require surgery.
He finishes the season averaging 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He finished with nine points and 10 rebounds in Purdue’s win over the Titans on Thursday
The Titans (20-12) led midway through the first half, and then Edwards took over. He had a go-ahead layup and scored seven more points to help Purdue lead 31-20 at halftime.
The Big West Tournament champions couldn’t put up much resistance in the second half as Purdue started making 3-pointers and using its Big Ten big bodies score inside to lead by 20-plus points.
Even with a big lead, though, Purdue coach Matt Painter kept pushing his teas to defend closely and share the ball offensively. Vince Edwards took heed and hustled back to block Jamal Smith’s attempt on a breakaway layup.
Edwards, looking healthy after being slowed by an ankle injury, scored 15 and P.J. Thompson added 11 points. Isaac Haas overcame a sluggish start to have nine points and 10 rebounds, but he left the game briefly midway through the second half after aggravating his banged-up right elbow that he hurt in a win over Louisville in November.
Cal State Fullerton’s Kyle Allman scored 21 and Jackson Rowe had 10 points.
The Titans may have just been happy to be in the NCAA Tournament and they should have been because it is a rare feat for the program. They were in college basketball’s showcase for the first time in a decade and third time in school history.
The Boilermakers likely will avoid making excuses, but their slow start probably had a lot to do with being idle for nearly two weeks since the Big Ten Tournament, which was played a week earlier than usual because Madison Square Garden was set to host the Big East Tournament.
Purdue plays the winner of the Arkansas-Butler game on Sunday for a chance to advance to the regional semifinals for the second straight year.