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Purdue remains tough despite loss of Hummel


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By DeAntae Prince



The identity of the Boilermakers changed the moment Purdue forward Robbie Hummel tore his anterior cruciate ligament during a drive across the lane at Minnesota on Feb. 24.

IU’s in-state rival had lost its best outside shooter, playmaker and one of its top rebounders. When IU travels to West Lafayette, it will not see the same team from Feb. 4.

Despite being less potent on the offensive side and down a glue guy, the Hoosiers can
expect a solid team focused in on the defensive end of the ball. Purdue’s leading scorer and leading rebounder will also be there, with guard E’Twaun Moore and center JaJuan Johnson remaining in the lineup.

IU coach Tom Crean recognized the Boilermakers will still fill the court with capable players.

“Purdue has a ton of experienced guys who have been battle-tested,” Crean said. “And you could see in their games recently that they have risen to the occasion more times than not.”

In its latest loss against Michigan State, Purdue played without Hummel’s direction for the first time this season.

He stood only for timeouts and walked to meet his teammates on crutches. As he watched, dressed in a blue shirt and tie, Purdue struggled to score.

It was obvious that Hummel was missed outside, with Purdue shooting 2-of-9 from the 3-point line. They totaled a 15-of-50 night from the field.

The Boilermakers’ troubles from outside led to fewer open driving lanes. They only scored 44 points in the nine-point loss.

That inability to spread the floor also led to tough nights for two players who have not seen many bad-shooting games.

Outputs from Moore and Johnson diminished without the more stable portion of their three-player attack. They shot a combined 7-of-27 and collectively scored 23 points.  
Hummel was a rock of a player who was always reliable, as he proved against IU in a 78-75 Boilermaker win on Feb. 4.

Without Hummel, the Hoosiers will have to worry less about an outside or late-game threat and more about a team of solid players.

“They have proven to be a great team and it doesn’t matter who they put on the floor, they are going to be tough,” freshman guard Jordan Hulls said.

The mainstays of this Boilermaker team are defense and smart play, two things that have not been setback from Hummel’s loss.

“Their pressure is relentless on offense and defense,” Crean said. “They score so much off of their defense, a lot more than they get credit for. They share the ball. They rebound the ball.”

Purdue forced Michigan State to shoot 40 percent for the game and limited guard Kalin Lucas to eight points.  He turned the ball over eight times as well.

Michigan State had nine assists and 23 turnovers, not exactly the combination that garners a win against the third-scoring defense in the Big Ten.

The Boilermakers, on the other hand, had 12 turnovers and nine assists.

Often times, the start of a game can determine what type of an effort IU will produce for two halves. Freshman forward Christian Watford said a start marred by turnovers hindered IU’s performance against Iowa on Sunday.

“It hurt us,” he said. “They got a great lead on us, and it went from there.”

IU will have to cut down on its season average of 15 turnovers when facing a team ranking second in steals and claiming ownership of the conference’s best turnover margin.

Crean said Purdue will remain an unyielding team, even without its leader.

“They play extremely well as a group and they are a team that is player led,” Crean said. “They hold each other accountable. They have great leadership on the court and they make basketball plays.”

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