DETROIT (AP) — It’s a huge loss for second-seeded Purdue.
Coach Matt Painter announced senior center Isaac Haas will miss the remainder of the NCAA Tournament with a fractured right elbow after Purdue’s 74-48 first-round win over Cal State Fullerton. Haas fell on the elbow midway through the second half while going for a rebound, He remained in the game but X-rays revealed after the contest a fracture in his elbow that will require surgery.
Haas is a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award given to the nation’s top center. 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.
Purdue will play Arkansas or Butler in Sunday’s second round.
Carsen Edwards opened the game with a step-back jumper and scored more inside and out when Purdue needed him most.
Edwards scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half and the rusty Boilermakers pulled away to rout 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 second-seeded Boilermakers (29-6) needed nearly a half to find their rhythm on offense as they missed 12 of their first 17 shots.
“It’s been a while since we played a game,” Edwards said. “Just getting our legs under us.”
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.
“He’s been doing that for us all year,” Vince Edwards said. “He’s always that guy that we can count on.”
The Big West Tournament champions couldn’t put up much resistance in the second half as the Boilermakers started making 3-pointers and using their big bodies to score inside to lead by 20-plus points.
Even with a big lead, though, Purdue coach Matt Painter kept pushing his team 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.
“It doesn’t matter what you’re up,” Vince Edwards said. “You’ve always got to play hard.”
Vince 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 and a scary fall to finish with nine points and 10 rebounds.
“We kind of shook the rust off,” Haas said. “The second half I said, ‘I can at least rebound,’ and shots started to fall for us.”
Cal State Fullerton’s Kyle Allman scored 21 and Jackson Rowe had 10 points.
“We felt we could play with them, and we did a great job,” Titans guard Khalil Ahmad said. “We were keeping them from getting easy baskets and we were hitting some shots. It just flipped on us in the second half. They started making everything and we couldn’t hit a shot.”
The Titans were just 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.
“In spite of the outcome, no matter what happens the rest of their life, they’ll always be able to go back to Cal State Fullerton and be honored,” coach Dedrique Taylor said.
The Boilermakers tried to 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. The conference held the event a week earlier than usual because it wanted to play in Madison Square Garden, which traditionally hosts the Big East Tournament the weekend before the NCAA Tournament.
“I was a little winded,” Carsen Edwards acknowledged.
Purdue tied the school record for wins with 29, sharing the mark with teams that finished seasons in 1988, 1994 and 2010.