Boilermakers Take Big Ten Battle
Feb. 17, 2009
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP)--No. 19 Purdue finally broke through against an elite opponent, beating No. 6 Michigan State 72-54 on Tuesday night.
The Boilermakers lost to Duke and Oklahoma early in the season, and entered this game without a win over any member of the current Top 25.
"Tonight, we showed we can play with the best in the country," Purdue guard Chris Kramer said. "It came down to us being tough, being physical on the defensive end and getting good shots."
Purdue forced 22 turnovers, blocked eight shots and held Michigan State to 33 percent shooting.
"I think it was one of our better performances defensively of the year," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "Guys did a good job getting into the basketball, understanding what Michigan State was trying to do. But maybe more important than anything was having a concentrated effort, stopping them from getting into transition."
The Boilermakers (20-6, 9-4 Big Ten), who have five games left, won their third straight and moved within one game of the Spartans in the conference standings.
JaJuan Johnson scored 17 points, E'Twaun Moore had 13 and Robbie Hummel added 11 for Purdue in his first start since missing three games with a hairline fracture in his lower back.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said Hummel made a difference.
"They're a pretty good team without him, but they're a special team with him," Izzo said. "He's a special guy. I told him after the game I respect him."
Painter would like to bring Hummel back a bit more slowly.
"I'm worried about playing him too much," Painter said. "I really didn't want to start him, but they rebound the ball so well."
Hummel said he felt fine after the game.
"I have felt really good over the last few days," he said. "It's been a drastic improvement. I've been wearing a brace, but I'm not hurting at all, and I can move a lot better again."
Kalin Lucas scored 14 points and Durrell Summers added 11 for Michigan State (20-5, 10-3), which had won three in a row. The Spartans tied a season low for points.
"They played well, but we helped them out by missing some easy shots," Izzo said.
Michigan State had held its previous three opponents under 50 points, but the Boilermakers shot 48 percent and scored their 50th point with nearly 11 minutes remaining.
"We didn't execute anything we talked about at halftime," Izzo said. "I don't feel good about a performance like this in a big-time game."
The rematch will be at Michigan State on March 8, the season finale for both teams.
Purdue opened the second half on a 7-0 run. A steal and layup by Kramer, a foul line jumper by Lewis Jackson and a 3-pointer by Moore bumped Purdue's lead to 33-23 and caused Michigan State to call a timeout less than 2 minutes into the second half.
A steal by Jackson led to a dunk by Marcus Green that made it 45-30 and caused Michigan State to call another timeout, this time with 13:42 to play.
The Spartans went on a 7-0 run, highlighted by a three-point play by Draymond Green, to trim the lead to 48-39. Purdue responded with a 7-2 run, and Keaton Grant's 3-pointer put the Boilermakers up 55-41 with just under 10 minutes left. The Boilermakers led by double digits the rest of the way.
Hummel hit two 3-pointers, then got an assist as Purdue took a 15-7 lead 7 minutes into the game and the Boilermakers led 26-23 at halftime. Michigan State shot 27 percent in the first half, but forced 10 turnovers and grabbed nine offensive rebounds.
"When we were down three at halftime, I was elated because we did not play well," Izzo said. "Then, in the second half, I guess that was a meltdown on our part. Purdue created some turnovers, but some of that other stuff like dribbling it off our foot was borderline ridiculous."
Izzo hopes his team learns from the loss.
"This was a big-time atmosphere, and you've got to bring it," he said. "Does Purdue deserve credit? Probably. Are we to blame? Probably."