Spartans blow out travel-worn Boilermakers
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State's 83-58 rout of Purdue Saturday is easily forgettable, but not the controversies within the game.
Those undoubtedly will be rehashed next month when the teams meet again.
It was a long, nasty day for the Boilermakers, who encountered severe travel problems and ended up having to bus early Saturday morning from their campus in West Lafayette, Ind., for the noon game.
Nobody seemed more affected than Purdue's fifth-year senior Robbie Hummel, who was leading the team in scoring with a 16.1-point average. Hummel missed all 11 of his shots from the floor, six from three-point range. He finished with two points while being held without a field goal for the first time in his career.
What really irked Purdue coach Matt Painter was a comment from the Izzone student section directed at Hummel, who has been hampered throughout his career by injuries and missed all of last season following knee surgery.
"The Izzone is great, but if they're going to say (to Hummel), ‘I hope you tear your ACL again,' I'm going to say something," Painter said. "He doesn't deserve that. We've got guys in our student section who probably say things that are out of line, too, but when I'm right on top of it, I'm just not taking it. Someone's got to fight for him."
Hummel didn't act bothered by the students' heckling.
"It's part of the game," he said. "They're one of the toughest places to play in America. I could give a crap what the Izzone says."
Hummel is already looking forward to that rematch against Michigan State on Feb. 19 at Purdue.
"They have to come back to West Lafayette," Hummel said of the Spartans. "We'll see them again."
Michigan State's student section is named after Tom Izzo, who won his 399th game in 17 seasons as the Spartans' coach.
Izzo made it clear that a lot of nasty comments are made at other arenas, too — he used last Tuesday's game in Ann Arbor as an example — but he was not pleased with what was said to Hummel.
"Robbie Hummel is one of the most respected people in this league," Izzo said. "I want our fans to be as hard as they can be. I just don't want them to be ignorant.
"I would throw the guy out of here that said something like that. If he wants to talk about his grandmother, I wouldn't like it but I'd deal with it. If he wants to talk about an injury to a kid who's been through so much, I'll try to find out who it was and make sure I buy his ticket (for the rest of the season)."
The incident with the Izzone was not Painter's only exchange of the day. He also had words with Michigan State's Branden Dawson, who grew up in Gary, Ind., and was recruited by Painter.
Exactly who was at fault depends on which version you believe.
Asked about what he said to Dawson, Painter said, "He had an exchange to me. I think the one thing you've got to do is only coach one team. I think that's the most important thing.
"My players aren't going to talk to opposing coaches. That's kind of our rule. That's how I handle it. I'm not letting a 19-year-old kid talk to me and rub it in, stick it to us. To each their own."
Dawson had a much different explanation of what transpired with Painter.
"I said nothing to coach Painter," Dawson insisted. "(Purdue's) Kelsey Barlow threw a pass at Anthony Johnson and he missed the ball. It went out of bounds. I clapped my hands and said, ‘Let's go.'
"Coach Painter was way out of the picture. I guess he thought I was turning to him. I didn't say nothing to him."
Dawson, however, said Painter did have words for him.
"I was running back down the court and he said, ‘I don't need your bleep, Dawson,' or something like that," Dawson said. "I told the ref I didn't say nothing to him. I was saying ‘Let's go,' I clapped my hands, kind of in his (Johnson's) face. I guess coach Painter thought I was taunting him or something. I don't have a problem with coach Painter. He's a great coach. I respect him."
It was a frustrating day from start to finish for Painter, Hummel and the Boilermakers. They expected to fly up following a late-afternoon practice Friday. But problems with the plane, along with a snowstorm, kept pushing back the departure time.
They were told they'd leave by 6 p.m., then 7 and finally they were able to board at 9, only to sit on the runway for three hours.
Around midnight, the decision was finally made to depart the plane. The team returned to Mackey Arena to figure out a new plan.
Hummel said he got back to his apartment by 1:30 a.m., went to sleep about a half-hour later and woke up at 4:30 a.m. to return to the arena.
The Boilermakers then boarded a bus and made the 250-mile drive, arriving at the Breslin Center shortly before 10 a.m., about two hours before tip-off.
Hummel ended up getting only those 2 ½ hours or so of sleep.
"I didn't want to sleep much on the bus," he said. "I'm not the type of person that can do that."
Neither he nor Painter was blaming the poor performance on the travel mishaps and lack of sleep, but it was unquestionably a factor.
The Boilermakers crashed the offensive glass, outscoring MSU 23-7 in second-chance points, but they couldn't make shots.
Purdue (14-6, 4-3 Big Ten) shot 29 percent to MSU's 60 percent.
Dawson scored 14 points to lead the Spartans. Three others also scored in double figures — Derrick Nix with 12, Austin Thornton with 11 and Keith Appling with 10.
Draymond Green, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, added eight points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, along with hounding Hummel much of the day on defense.
The ninth-ranked Spartans (16-4, 5-2 Big Ten) broke a two-game losing streak and moved back into a tie for first place in the conference. MSU is 12-0 at home, winning its last two at the Breslin Center by a total of 59 points.
Still, the focus was more on the incidents with the Izzone and Dawson than the victory.
Izzo promised to address both issues, but it was annoying for the coach, who ended the day saying, "I better get away from this press conference because it sounds like I've got a lot of work to do."