CANCUN, Mexico (AP) — Isaac Haas scored 26 points and Dakota Mathias added 25, both career highs, as No. 17 Purdue beat Utah State 85-64 in the Cancun Challenge on Tuesday night.
Haas and Mathias took over in the second half, when they combined for 32 points on 12-of-13 shooting to help the Boilermakers (3-1) pull away after leading 39-27 at halftime. Mathias shot 6 of 7 on 3-pointers.
Alexis Dargenton led the Aggies (3-1) with 14 points and nine rebounds. Julion Pearre added 10 points.
Caleb Swanigan chipped in 15 points and made the second of the Boilermakers’ 11 3-pointers for a 19-7 lead, their biggest of the first half, with 11:43 to play.
The Aggies came back and cut the margin to 28-27 on a layup from Jalen Moore with 4:16 to go, but Purdue closed the half with 11 unanswered points.
THE BIG PICTURE
Purdue: The Boilermakers arrived in Mexico with plenty of questions after an emotional loss to defending national champion Villanova followed by a shaky performance in a 64-56 win over Georgia State after trailing by 12. The Panthers beat the Boilermakers on the glass and stymied their 3-point shooters before Purdue ripped off a 20-point run. The Boilermakers answered some questions in this one, though, improving their 3-point shooting and first-half defense.
Utah State: The loss snapped the Aggies’ most consistent run since last season when they won four straight in late December.
Purdue plays Auburn (4-0) for the tournament’s Riviera Championship on Wednesday.
Utah State plays Texas Tech (3-1) for third place in the tournament’s Riviera Division on Wednesday.