Purdue drains 17 3-pointers to win Cancun Challenge

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue drains 17 3-pointers to win Cancun Challenge

CANCUN, Mexico (AP) With 7-foot-2 Isaac Haas clogging the middle, No. 17 Purdue figures to get plenty of chances to show it can shoot from the outside.

The Boilermakers responded Wednesday night with a dizzying display of 3-point shooting.

Carsen Edwards broke out of his shooting slump with 21 points and Purdue shot 17 of 26 from 3-point range to beat Auburn 96-71 and capture the Cancun Challenge title.

P.J. Thompson and Vincent Edwards each added 15 points for the Boilermakers (4-1), who had six players score in double figures in their third straight win since falling to national champion Villanova.

“We got a good mix of drives and transition opportunities,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “And then when we got the ball inside I thought our guys made good decisions. They jumped a couple screens and our guys just stopped and shot the basketball.”

Carsen Edwards, a highly recruited freshman, had been 2 of 16 from 3-point range. But the 6-foot guard made 4 of 5 shots from behind the arc. He hit two 3s and two free throws in a 16-4 run midway through the second half that broke open a close game.

“I wasn’t trying to force anything,” Edwards said. “Things were just falling for me. Just getting into the flow of the game and taking shots when I’m open.”

Purdue shot 64 percent from the field and it was the second-most 3-pointers made in a game behind the 18 it had last season against Vermont.

Danjel Purifoy scored 22 points and Mustapha Heron added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Tigers (4-1), who were seeking their first 5-0 start since 2004-05.

“To go ahead and win this game and try to be nationally ranked on Monday, you’ve got to have special,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “We didn’t get special out of the coaching staff and we didn’t get special out of the players.”

Purdue hit 7 of its first 12 3-point attempts in racing to a 38-27 lead. Auburn responded with a 12-0 run before Edwards’ 3-pointer to close the half put Purdue back ahead 43-41.

Purdue hit 9 of 12 3s in the second half.

“At times we’ve got four shooters on the floor with a big (man),” Vincent Edwards said. “We can mix up any combination.”

BIG PICTURE

Auburn: Pearl starts three freshmen and two sophomores, and the inexperience showed in the second half which started with the Tigers leading. But the tournament provided needed seasoning as Pearl’s rebuilding plan appears to be ahead of schedule.

Purdue: The Boilermakers won the two games in Cancun by a combined 46 points. That after a sluggish win over Georgia State in their first game following the Villanova defeat. The Boilermakers appeared ready for another big test next week.

HAAS’ MISCUES

Haas had 10 points and 10 rebounds, but also committed eight turnovers. Six came in the first half. Caleb Swanigan added 14 points and 10 boards.

TOUGH NIGHT

Pearl cited Purdue’s shooting and its 39-23 rebounding edge and declared it “a kicking.” But the Auburn boss was also upset with his offense.

“Only having nine assists,” Pearl said. “(T.J.) Dunans and Jared (Harper) had six of them together. We’ve got to get the other guys moving and cutting and just doing a better job of running our stuff.”

FAMILIAR FACE

Auburn graduate transfer Ronnie Johnson scored two points against his former team. Johnson played his first two college seasons at Purdue before spending one year at Houston.

UP NEXT

Auburn: Faces USC Upstate on Tuesday in its lone home game in a five-game stretch. The Tigers visit UAB and play neutral site games against Boston College, Oklahoma and UConn before beginning SEC play.

Purdue: Returns home to face NJIT on Saturday before a showdown next Wednesday at No. 10 Louisville.

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