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February 12, 2008
Purdue stays hot with win over Spartans
That's because they're no longer surprised when the Boilermakers win big games.
Robbie Hummel scored a career-high 24 points as No. 19 Purdue beat No. 10 Michigan State 60-54 Tuesday night.
Just weeks ago, fans flooded the court and lifted Hummel on their shoulders after a win over then-No. 11 Wisconsin. They stayed put this time, something Purdue captain Chris Kramer considered a sign of progress.
"I'm glad they didn't rush the floor," Kramer said. "I feel when they rush the floor, it's like you don't expect to win. We've got to come into every game expecting to win."
E'Twaun Moore scored 12 points and Keaton Grant added 11 for Purdue, which won its 10th straight game to remain alone in first place in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers (20-5, 11-1 Big Ten) have won at least 20 games for the second straight year.
The Boilermakers won at then-No. 10 Wisconsin on Saturday. It's the first time in school history Purdue has beaten Top 10 teams in back-to-back games.
"It's a great feeling," said Hummel, who also grabbed 11 rebounds and made 4 of 7 3-pointers. "We've put ourselves in position coming down the stretch in the Big Ten season. It's just a total team effort."
Michigan State guard Drew Neitzel, who averaged 14 points, was held to six points and one field goal. Kramer, who had four points, five assists and five steals, was assigned to Neitzel for most of the night.
"Every time he was coming off a pindown or any type of cut, I tried to body him a little bit to knock him off his path," Kramer said. "I think it frustrated him early. I tried to pressure him and not let him get comfortable out there."
Neitzel said Purdue guarded him well.
"I just didn't have a lot of opportunities and a lot of good looks," he said. "You just have to give Purdue credit."
The Boilermakers took a 40-30 lead early in the second half on a dunk by Marcus Green, but the Spartans responded with a 7-0 run that cut their deficit to 40-37 and forced Purdue to call a timeout.
Purdue kept the lead throughout the second half, though Michigan State cut its deficit to one point three times.
Purdue led 56-52 in the final minute before Hummel made a long 2-point jumper as the shot clock wound down to make it 58-52 with 42 seconds to play
Neitzel missed a 3-pointer, and Grant made two free throws at the other end to put the game out of reach.
Purdue set the tone defensively by forcing two shot-clock violations in the first 2 minutes of the game. The Boilermakers went on an 11-0 run and held Michigan State scoreless for more than 4 minutes to take a 20-10 lead.
Purdue closed the half on a 12-2 run that included two 3-pointers and eight points by Hummel to take a 34-18 lead. Purdue forced 14 turnovers and held Michigan State to 37 percent shooting before the break.
Neitzel and Morgan, the team's top two scorers this season, were scoreless at halftime.
"That hurts a little bit," Neitzel said. "We just couldn't get it going. Our two leading scorers carry the load offensively sometimes, and we just couldn't get it done."
In all, Purdue forced 19 turnovers.
"The turnovers were ridiculous," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "I'm giving Purdue credit on some of them, but when you hand the ball to the guy and he goes down and makes a layup, I can't give him credit for that."
Kramer said the sellout crowd of 14,123 had something to do with Michigan State's problems.
"The place was rocking tonight," he said. "It was great. They fan support we've been getting - they're really bringing Mackey Magic back, and it's definitely given us a boost."