2018 NCAA Tournament: Purdue brushes off sluggish start, blows past Cal State Fullerton

Purdue Boilermakers-Purdue basketball-NCAA Tournament-Cal State Fullerton

No. 2 seed Purdue fought off early sluggish offense against Cal State Fullerton and opened its 2018 NCAA Tournament with a 74-48 win over the No. 15 seed Titans Friday afternoon at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Sophomore guard Carsen Edwards and senior forward Vincent Edwards led the Boilermakers with 15 points each. Vincent Edwards added 7 rebounds.

Purdue led 30-21 at halftime after making its last three shot attempts of the half, including 3-point shots by Vincent Edwards and Carsen Edwards. The Boilermakers were just 7 of 27 from the field, including 1 of 9 on 3-point attempts, before the late run. They began the second half by making 7 of their first 9 shots, including 3 of 4 from behind the arc to blow open the game. The Boilermakers led by as many as 31 points in the second half.

WHY PURDUE WON: The Boilermakers defense never had any issue with the Titans, so while the offense took some time to get going it was afforded that luxury. Purdue held Cal State Fullerton to 36 percent (18 of 50) shooting from the field and 22.2 percent (4-18) on 3-point attempts. It won the rebound battle 44-34 and forced 17 turnovers, converting them into 19 points.

WHAT IT MEANS: Purdue moves on to the round of 32 and pushes the Big Ten’s NCAA Tournament record to 3-0 with Michigan State still to play Friday night.

WHO STARRED: Sophomore guard Carsen Edwards was one player who had energy on offense in the first half when the rest of the team was struggling. He was 4 of 8 in the first half and scored 13 of Purdue’s 30 points in the first 20 minutes. His only points of the second half game on a pair of free throws but he held the Boilermakers together when they needed him.

WHO STUMBLED: Senior center Isaac Haas has a size advantage on just about everyone but it means nothing if he can’t convert on his offensive opportunities. Haas made a dunk on his first attempt of the game but then missed his remaining four shots of the first half, all from down low and without much defensive resistance. He finished the game with 9 points and 10 rebounds after a more aggressive second half. Purdue is going to need him to win those matchups if opponents are going to concentrate on taking away the perimeter attack.

WHO IS NEXT: Purdue gets the winner of No. 7 Arkansas and No. 10 Butler on Sunday at Little Caesars Arena. Game time has yet to be determined


purdue-cal state fullerton-final score

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