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
”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
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