Detroit – For about 10 minutes in its first-round NCAA Tournament game, Cal State Fullerton looked like it might hang around against No. 2 seed Purdue.
But they were a fleeting 10 minutes.
Baskets were tough to come by early for the Boilermakers, but they opened the second half blazing with an 11-2 run in the first four minutes. Purdue advanced to the second round with a 74-48 win over No. 15 Cal State Fullerton Friday at Little Caesars Arena. P.J. Thompson scored 11.
After the game, Purdue announced that Isaac Haas suffered a fractured right elbow during the game and would be out for the remainder of the NCAA Tournament.
On Sunday, the Boilermakers (29-6) will face Butler, which defeated Arkansas in the second game.
Purdue chalked up its sluggish offensive start to a long layoff. The Boilermakers last played 12 days ago in the Big Ten tournament title game.
“We had a tough time settling into the game from an offensive standpoint,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said, although he was pleased with the team’s defense throughout the game. “And as we started to make a few more, I thought we had a really good run to start the second half, and our guys did a good job of finding each other and we got into a good rhythm offensively.”
Carsen Edwards, who entered the game leading Purdue in scoring, averaging 18.5 points, had 15 points against Cal State Fullerton while Vincent Edwards also had 15 and seven rebounds.
Haas, Purdue's 7-foot-2 senior, was held below his season scoring average of 14.9. He finished with nine points but led the team with 10 rebounds.
Purdue shot 39 percent from the field and was 9-of-22 on 3-pointers.
Haas was injured with 8:49 left in the game, falling backward onto the court on a battle for a rebound. He grabbed the elbow – he has been wearing a compression sleeve with a pad since injuring it earlier this season against Louisville – and tried to shake it off while wincing. He went to the bench but checked back in with 7:29 left.
“He obviously fell on it and he hurt it,” said Painter, who did not know the extent of Haas' injury immediately after the game. “So then he was going back in, he kept holding it. I don’t know if it was his elbow or his wrist. I don’t know exactly what it was. But he kept holding it, and that’s the reason I took him out there at the end of the game.”
Turnovers have been an issue all season for Cal State Fullerton and were glaring against Purdue. The Titans entered the game averaging 14.1 turnovers per game and had reached that mark midway through the second half. The Titans had 17 turnovers and Purdue scored 19 points off those miscues.
Purdue used an 8-0 run in the final minutes of the first half to build a 30-21 lead, as Cal State Fullerton went the final 3:09 of the half without a field goal.
Vincent Edwards said Painter told his team that the defense had been tough during the first half and not to worry.
“We got out to a slow start,” Vincent Edwards said. “He said, ‘Don’t worry about the offense, just share the ball, move the ball, we’ll be fine.’”
Carsen Edwards said it took the Boilermakers time to get up to speed after the long layoff.
“We just focused on getting stops,” Carsen Edwards said. “It’s been a while since we played. We were just getting our legs under us.”
The Titans made their first NCAA Tournament in 10 years and third in history.
“I thought our guys came out and fought, particularly in the first half, just hit a little bus there in the second half,” Cal State Fullerton coach Dedrique Taylor said. “In spite of the outcome, this group of guys made history for our school. No matter what happens the rest of their life, they’ll always be able to go back to Cal State Fullerton and be honored in the history of Cal State Fullerton basketball.
“And so for that I’m extremely proud of these guys. I’m extremely proud of their sacrifice, what they’ve made, what they’ve done, the maturity they’ve shown and the ability to get better day in, day out. So I can’t express my gratitude to each one of these guys enough.
“I think these group of guys made a heck of an impact, not only our school but our community, the students, and themselves, their life.”