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February 9, 2013

Byrd struggles; Michigan State notes





D.J. Byrd missed a deep three-pointer from the wing with about five minutes left against Michigan State on Saturday.

It was the only shot he took.

So for the second consecutive game, Byrd went without a field goal. He was 0 for 6 on Tuesday against Penn State.

Byrd entered the game against the Spartans averaging a career-best 9.9 points per game but played only 22 minutes with foul trouble and struggled to find openings. Tom Izzo used several different players on Byrd, starting with Branden Dawson and switching to Russell Byrd and Matt Costello at points.

Izzo said he thought his players did a "pretty good job" on Byrd.

Purdue coach Matt Painter thought it was a combination of Michigan State and Byrd himself.

"Tom Izzo didn't slip on a banana peel and go to six Final Fours. He was going to have a guy stay with (Byrd)," Painter said. "They did a good job of staying with him. He knows how important Byrd is to our team. So if can establish A.J. Hammons and get some of the Johnsons to get in the lane and drive the ball, and then Byrd can knock down shots, we have a nice balance to our offense. It's easier said than done against a really good team.

"I thought Michigan State took him out of some things by just staying with him, and then I also thought he took himself out by having a couple silly fouls. Then once you get into foul trouble and you go in and out, now you're not into a rhythm. Now it's harder."

Painter mentioned Michigan State point guard Keith Appling, though, who also was in foul trouble. Painter said he liked how Appling made important baskets despite coming in and out of the game, saying "that's what you need from your experienced players."

But Byrd didn't only take only one shot and miss it. He also had only one rebound, one assist and four turnovers.

"We have to have him from an intangibles standpoint - we need him in the game," Painter said.

Standing O
The loudest cheers of the night seemed to be when play was stopped.

During a timeout midway through the first half, first-year football coach Darrell Hazell was announced and received a standing ovation. Hazell wasn't given a microphone, only waved and pointed and pumped his fist to the cheers. Maybe he'd done enough speaking earlier - he spent about an hour signing autographs and meeting fans inside Mackey's West Club before the game.

Then at halftime, former Boilermaker All-American Robbie Hummel was honored. Hummel, making a short trip back to the States from playing in Spain, got to see his banner hanging from the rafters in Mackey and also was presented with the 2012 Big Ten medal of honor as Purdue's male recipient.

"It still blows my mind that I'm up in the rafters," Hummel said to the crowd. "The first game I ever came to at Mackey Arena, I was 5 years old. It was the semistate in 1994, possibly the greatest high school basketball game in state history. It was between Valparaiso and East Chicago. It's so fitting. It's come full circle, being able to see my name next to one of my buddies, ETwaun Moore, Valparaiso and East Chicago.

"It's a tremendous honor."

Switching lineups
After getting his first career double-double against Penn State earlier in the week, Donnie Hale was awarded with a start against the Spartans.

Hale started in place of Rapheal Davis, who had started the last eight games as Painter opted to play small. But against physically imposing Michigan State, Hale got the nod. He had six points, three rebounds and a block in 24 minutes.

Jacob Lawson played for the first time since getting only three minutes against Northwestern and staying on the bench against the Nittany Lions. But he played only two minutes, grabbing a rebound and missing his only shot.




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