Purdue 79, Nebraska 61

Purdue’s first meeting with Nebraska was all about Robbie


The rematch was about his supporting cast.

Anthony Johnson scored a career-high 17 points to help Purdue

defeat Nebraska 79-61 on Thursday night in the first round of the

Big Ten tournament.

Terone Johnson had 16 points, six rebounds and six assists, Ryne

Smith scored 15 points and Hummel and D.J. Byrd added 10 points for

the sixth-seeded Boilermakers (21-11).

Hummel scored 29 points in an 85-63 win over Nebraska on Feb.

22, but he was content to set others up on his 23rd birthday.

Anthony Johnson, the primary beneficiary, said the team’s 3-point

shooters helped him find lanes.

”I think it was our ball movement and them staying so close to

guys like Robbie and Ryne and D.J., and that was giving me the

opportunity to drive the lane and there was no help,” Johnson

said. ”It was easy to get some floaters and some lay-ups.”

Anthony Johnson, a reserve, said he enters games with an

aggressive mindset. He took 10 shots in 26 minutes.

”When I come in, I just want to bring a spark,” he said.

”Even if Robbie and Lewis (Jackson) are in there with me, I still

want to try to bring a lot of energy.”

Nebraska knew what was coming and appeared powerless to stop


”The whole night, defensively, they kept us completely off

balance,” Nebraska coach Doc Sadler said. ”We knew coming into

the game we wanted to take away the lane, and that’s something we

didn’t do. We can’t give them the lane and the 3-point, and that’s

exactly what we did.”

Purdue, which has won six of its past eight games, advanced to

play No. 3 seed Ohio State on Friday. The seventh-ranked Buckeyes

will offer Purdue a chance to improve its NCAA tournament seed.

”Tomorrow’s a huge game for us,” Hummel said. ”Not only the

opportunity to play a ranked team, but it’s an opportunity to

improve our season.”

The Boilermakers shot 56 percent from the field and made 13

3-pointers, matching a tournament record most recently reached in

2002. Nebraska, on the other hand, made just 8 of 27 threes and

shot 42 percent overall.

”Obviously, we were able to get off to a pretty good start in

the game,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. ”I thought the

difference for us was our ability to make our threes and then

defend at the 3-point line.”

Bo Spencer scored 22 points for the 11th-seeded Cornhuskers

(12-18), who were playing in their first Big Ten tournament game.

Nebraska finished the season on a five-game losing skid.

Nebraska led 12-8 before Purdue rallied with a 17-0 run over a

span of 7:48. Anthony Johnson scored seven points during that

stretch while Nebraska missed five consecutive shots and committed

five turnovers.

”I think we just started getting defensive stops,” Smith said.

”We weren’t where we needed to be defensively, but once we got

that squared off, we got going on the offensive end.”

The Boilermakers led 39-31 at halftime. Purdue shot 52 percent

from the floor and made 7 of 13 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes.

Johnson scored 10 points in the first half, and Smith added nine.

Hummel, the team’s top scorer this season, committed two early

fouls and played just 10 minutes in the first half, but Purdue

rolled anyway.

Spencer led Nebraska with 14 points in the first half.

Nebraska scored the first four points of the second half, but

3-pointers by Smith and Hummel pushed Purdue’s advantage back to 10


Jackson’s nifty pass in the lane to Terone Johnson led to a

layup that put Purdue up 49-40 and forced Nebraska to call


Nebraska closed its deficit to six before a 3-pointer by Byrd

and a 3-point play by Jackson gave Purdue a 57-45 lead with 13

minutes remaining. The Boilermakers led by as many as 20 points and

weren’t threatened the rest of the way.

”I thought we had a healthy balance of making the right

decisions and making the right play,” Painter said.

Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cliffbruntap