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February 19, 2012

Short-handed Purdue turned away

Post-game audio: Coach Matt Painter | Ryne Smith, Robbie Hummel and Lewis Jackson | Michigan State coach Tom Izzo

Playing down two men against the nation's seventh-ranked team, Purdue may have had to play a bit over its head in the first half Sunday to lead Michigan State at halftime.

But in the second half, the harsh realities of being without key players; playing only six guys extended minutes; and playing against a bigger, stronger and very good opponent set in, and the Spartans rolled to a 76-62 win.

With D.J. Byrd serving a one-game suspension and Purdue playing its first game without the dismissed Kelsey Barlow, the Boilermakers saw an energized first-half performance nullified by a horrific run of 1-of-23 shooting to start the second half.

That, coupled with the fact that Michigan State got Draymond Green back from first-half foul trouble, spelled doom for Purdue in its quest for that elusive marquee win.

Green, challenged at halftime by Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, finished with 20 points, 10 boards and seven assists and made for a problematic matchup in the final 20 minutes for Purdue leading scorer Robbie Hummel, who scored 18 in the first half.

Hummel finished with 24 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, with three assists and three blocked shots.

But not even Hummel could find the bottom of the basket as the Boilermakers endured an excruciating run of shooting woes with the game on the line after halftime.

"I'd say we got pretty good shots, a lot of good (looks) at the rim," Hummel said. "We had open threes. They didn't go in. We had some shots go in and out.

"Obviously, they're a good defensive team, but I just thought we missed shots."

Purdue missed 12 shots - so many of them highly makeable, though made more difficult by the Spartans' wealth of front-line size, athleticism and power - before Ryne Smith's three-pointer with 13:07 to play.

The Boilermakers then missed their next 10 shots before Anthony Johnson's run of eight consecutive Purdue points. Purdue closed having made seven of its final dozen field goal attempts, but by the time the 1-of-23 run was over, the Spartans had run their lead to 16 and the Boilermakers were pretty much cooked.

The problems on this day - or at least those problems created by Michigan State - came on the interior.

Purdue was just 6-of-22 from three-point range; oddly, but not surprisingly if you saw the game, the Boilermakers were literally no better from much closer, with the final statistics showing the Boilermakers to have made just 6-of-21 from "the paint."

"It's just different with (Michigan State's) size and athleticism," Painter said. "They get lay-ups; they make them. We get lay-ups; we miss them. You have to attribute that to their size and athleticism and just their overall skill level."

Despite Hummel's career effort - Purdue's second-leading rebounder was "team," with five - the Spartans clobbered the Boilermakers on the glass, by a count of 44-32. Michigan State scored 36 of its points in the paint, three times the Boilermakers' total.

Forward Branden Dawson scored most of his 15 points at the rim, as the freshman went for a double-double in an arena where he's not very popular.

(According to a tweet sent by Purdue's student section prior to the game, The Paint Crew received a request that individual players or coaches not be targeted by the crowd.)

Center Derrick Nix made 6-of-8 shots, scoring 12. He dominated the post offensively in a first half when Purdue had it going offensively and it was the Spartans who actually had to score to keep up.

On one low-post bucket, the 270-pounder threw his body so hard into Boilermaker big man Travis Carroll, Carroll was left woozy and had to leave the game to put in some alone time on the bench while the Boilermakers huddled during a stoppage. He returned later.

"We just don't have an answer for Derrick Nix," Painter said. "I know Draymond Green almost had a triple-double and is a great player, but when you have that kind of size ... And we don't have anybody who can keep Branden Dawson off the glass at times."

Michigan State's size and physicality impacted Purdue on offense, too, especially in the second half.

Guard Terone Johnson was just 1-of-8 shooting, with a couple good looks off drives going awry. Carroll was 0-for-4 among his touches around the basket.

When it rained, it poured. In the first half, Hummel hit Sandi Marcius for a two-handed dunk. It missed.

Anthony Johnson was the only non-senior who gave Purdue much in the scoring column, making four of his eight shots and burying two second-half threes in playing 24 minutes, one game after not so much as leaving the bench at Illinois.

Otherwise, Hummel, Lewis Jackson (15 points) and Smith (10) combined for 49 of Purdue's 62.

"We felt we had to get into the mid- to late-70s to have a chance to win," Painter said.

"I thought offensively we could do (what had to be done to get there). Defensively, I wondered. Some of their best offense is after the shot goes up."




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