Purdue 80, Penn St. 56
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP)
The senior had 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists on Senior Night to help Purdue defeat Penn State 80-56 on Wednesday night.
Boilermakers fans at Mackey Arena got one last glimpse of an athlete who embodies what they admire perhaps more than any Purdue player in a decade. He has overcome two right ACL tears in the last two years and a shooting slump early this season to close the season with a flourish.
Hummel said he was glad to finish the home schedule on a high note.
''It still would have been nice if I wasn't playing at a so-called high level, but I guess to be doing that after everything is nice,'' he said.
In the last six games, Hummel is averaging 23.5 points and 9.3 rebounds, and Purdue has gone 5-1.
''In the last half of conference play, Robbie Hummel's been one of the best players in our league,'' Purdue coach Matt Painter said. ''He's rebounding the ball, he's scoring the ball, he's been very, very consistent.''
Seniors Hummel, Jackson and Ryne Smith combined to score 30 of Purdue's 43 points in the second half. One of the three seniors either scored or assisted on all 15 of Purdue's field goals after the break.
''It was a lot of fun,'' Smith said. ''A lot of smiles out there in the second half.''
The Boilermakers were coming off a win at No. 11 Michigan, and there was no letdown. The Boilermakers shot 57 percent to win their third straight.
''I think we're on a big-time roll right now,'' Hummel said.
Purdue avenged a 65-45 loss to Penn State on Jan. 5 and clinched a winning conference record heading into its showdown with in-state rival Indiana on Sunday.
Purdue led Penn State by as many as eight points early, but Frazier's shooting kept the Nittany Lions in it. Trey Lewis hit a 3-pointer to give Penn State the lead, but Hummel responded with a four-point play to put the Boilermakers up 33-30.
Hummel drained a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the first half to give the Boilermakers a 37-32 lead. He scored 17 points in the first half while Frazier scored 16. Penn State shot 57 percent in the first half but trailed because Purdue outscored the Nittany Lions 9-3 from the line.
The seniors got things started for Purdue in the second half. A pair of free throws by Hummel and a layup by Jackson pushed the Boilermakers' lead to 41-32 and forced a Penn State timeout.
A three-point play by Hummel increased the lead to 46-32 before a layup by Jackson bumped the lead to 16 points. Penn State missed its first four shots after the break.
When someone other than Hummel or Jackson finally scored for Purdue in the second half, it was a 3-pointer by Byrd on an assist from Hummel. Smith joined in with a 3-pointer, this one on an assist from Jackson, that gave Purdue a 56-38 lead.
Purdue's largest lead was 27 points, 79-52, with 2:49 to go.
The catalyst was Hummel, who finally has grown comfortable with his knee and his role. He struggled with his shot early in the season, the thing Painter thought would be the most steady.
''I thought that he rushed some things, he was taking some bad ones, he was floating on his shot coming forward,'' Painter said.
Part of that, Painter said, was his fault.
''I think, in theory, he had a grand scheme and I had a grand scheme that he had to shoot a lot for this team to win,'' Painter said. ''I don't think that's true.
''Rob Hummel just needs to play. Just play the game the right way you've been doing your whole life, and with that, you're going to score more.''
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cliffbruntap