No. 14 Spartans down No. 3 Boilermakers
One game into Purdue's season without Robbie Hummel, things already
have changed significantly for the worse.
The junior forward tore the ACL in his right knee earlier in the week and will miss the rest of the season. Without its No. 2 scorer and rebounder, third-ranked Purdue produced its lowest point total of the season in a 53-44 loss to No. 14 Michigan State on Sunday.
The loss snapped the Boilermakers' 10-game winning streak, and came while their other two stars -- E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson -- combined to go 7 for 27 from the field.
"It's no secret we go through three guys," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "A lot of games this year, two of those three guys would score well offensively and allow that other guy to have an off night. Now it's a little bit different. Now you have that traditional one-two punch and both of those guys have to be productive in the scoring column."
Opportunity knocked for Purdue (24-4, 12-4 Big Ten) a day after No. 1 Kansas lost to Oklahoma State and No. 2 Kentucky lost to Tennessee. Now, the Boilermakers' shot at a No. 1 ranking is gone, their chance at a top seed in the NCAA tournament took a hit, and they fell a half game behind Ohio State in the conference race.
"As soon as Rob went down, our backs went up against the wall," Purdue guard Chris Kramer said. "We can't expect him to be there anymore. We still control our own destiny. Everything we did wrong is fixable."
Raymar Morgan had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Draymond Green added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Spartans (22-7, 12-4), who avenged a 76-64 loss to the Boilermakers on Feb. 9 in East Lansing, Mich.
The win brought Michigan State even with Purdue in the Big Ten standings, a half game behind the Buckeyes for the conference lead. Coach Tom Izzo refused to make too big a deal about it, instead focusing on the Spartans' 23 turnovers and 40 percent shooting.
"We're going to enjoy it until we get home on the plane," Izzo said. "And then we've got to figure out that we've got some work to do here. Michigan State's got to get better, still, too.
"We're going to start working immediately on that and make sure we don't think we conquered the world because we won a game on the road against a really good team."
Both coaches acknowledged that Purdue missed Hummel, but Painter said one player couldn't account for Michigan State's 46-20 rebounding edge.
"I think Michigan State overpowered us a lot of times on the glass," Painter said. "I don't think that has to do with one position or one slot."
Moore scored 12 points, and Johnson and Kramer added 11 for Purdue.
The Boilermakers shot poorly early, but stayed in the game at the free-throw line.
Michigan State led 22-16 before Purdue temporarily found its offensive rhythm. A steal and dunk by Kramer cut Michigan State's lead to 22-21, and a 3-pointer by Keaton Grant tied the score at 24 with 3:45 left in the first half.
Michigan State's Derrick Nix was called for a technical foul after he missed a dunk, then caught the ball while still hanging on the rim and dunked it in with his right hand. Moore made the technical free throws to give Purdue a 26-24 lead.
The Boilermakers led 28-26 at halftime, despite shooting 32 percent and getting a combined 2-for-13 shooting effort from Moore and Johnson.
Michigan State held Purdue to one basket during a 16-6 run that gave the Spartans a 42-34 lead with 11 minutes left.
Purdue had a chance to creep back into the game in the final minutes, but couldn't get a rebound. Green posted up against Kramer, missed, but tipped the ball twice before finally scoring to make it 50-44 with 1:20 to play.
Moore missed a 3-pointer, then Lucas found Morgan for a lob near the basket. Morgan made the layup, was fouled and converted the 3-point play to put the game out of reach.
Purdue now will focus on playing rival Indiana on Wednesday. The Boilermakers will close at Penn State on Saturday. Two wins would give Purdue at least a share of the conference title.
Izzo said Purdue is still a very good team, but clearly different without Hummel.
"Late in the game, when they need a basket, that's Hummel time," Izzo said. "And in fairness, he wasn't there."