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Cal State Fullerton lingers, but can’t pull a 15-2 upset over Purdue

At the end of the day, Purdue’s defense won out in an ugly first-round game.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round: Purdue Boilermakers vs. Cal State Fullerton Titans Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

If the Titans’ 74-48 loss in the first round could be summed up in a GIF, Josh Pitts’s bizarre wardrobe malfunction early in the first half probably does the job:

Cal State Fullerton hung around for a bit, but Purdue’s tough defense was too much to overcome for the Big West’s lone representative.

Kyle Allman Jr. and Khalil Ahmad led the offense with 21 and nine points, respectively. Despite the showing from the junior tandem, the Titans offense couldn’t find its rhythm. The Titans were held under 50 points for the second time all season.

Three early turnovers before the first media timeout weren’t an ideal start. Neither were the open looks for Isaac Haas. But the Boilermakers weren’t dominating as much as the final score indicated: Purdue endured a 4-23 stretch midway through the first half — in which the Titans took their sole lead of the game — and made their first three at 13:59. After one too many Haas bricks around the rim, Carsen Edwards seized control of the Boilermaker offense. He led Purdue with 15 points on 4-12 shooting.

Cal State Fullerton let Purdue slip away early in the second half. P.J. Thompson found his stroke, the Edwards tandem (unrelated) got to the rim and the Titans went without a field goal for nearly four minutes. Aside from an injury scare from Haas — the seven-footer fell on his right elbow while grabbing a rebound — everything went Purdue’s way.

Cal State Fullerton ends its season with a 20-12 record — its first 20-win season since 2012. Arkim Robertson, the Titans’ starting big man, is the lone senior on the roster.