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Hummel shoots Purdue to 10th straight win

Feb 13, 2008 - 4:52 AM WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (Ticker) -- Robbie Hummel saved his best effort for Purdue's biggest obstacle to a Big Ten title.

The freshman swingman scored a season-high 24 points, including two big baskets in the final two minutes, as the No. 23 Boilermakers continued their surprising run with a 60-54 victory over ninth-ranked Michigan State on Tuesday.

Hummel finished with four 3-pointers and grabbed 11 rebounds as Purdue (20-5, 11-1 Big Ten) captured its 10th straight win - its longest since the 1995-96 campaign.

"He was very valuable for us tonight," Purdue coach Matt Painter said of Hummel. "He understands the game and has a great feel for it. It's not coaching; I just put him in the right spot and he makes plays."

In doing so, the Boilermakers solidified their hold on the Big Ten, avenging their only previous league loss at the Spartans, 78-75, on January 8. Michigan State (20-4, 8-3) entered the matchup with a chance to close within one-half game of Purdue in the league standings.

"It's a great accomplishment for our program," Painter said. "We've come a long way in six weeks. Our players understand that we can get beat by a lot of teams, but we also know that we can beat a lot of people."

Instead, Purdue remained one of two one-loss teams in the conference along with idle Indiana (9-1), which the Boilermakers will travel to on February 19.

Purdue won its last Big Ten title in 1996.

Although they led by as many as 18 points in the first half, the Boilermakers could not shake the Spartans, who had won six of the previous seven meetings.

A layup by freshman Kalin Lucas brought Michigan State to within 51-50 with 3:24 remaining - the fourth time that it got within a single point.

However, that would be the closest that the Spartans would get, even though the Boilermakers' Chris Kramer could not complete a three-point play after getting fouled on a driving layup.

Trailing 53-50, Michigan State missed on an ill-advised 3-pointer from Goran Suton, and Hummel compounded the miss with a 3-pointer of his own with 1:42 left - snapping Purdue's slump of 11 consecutive misses from the arc in the second half.

Although Lucas came back with a layup, Hummel added another jumper from right inside the arc for a 58-52 advantage with 41 seconds to play.

"I want the ball," Hummel said of his late shots. "But I wouldn't say I was feeling it. I was just trying to get into position to score. My teammates did a good job of finding me, and fortunately the shots went in."

Keaton Grant then added two free throws for a 60-52 lead with 27 seconds left.

"We didn't do the things necessary to win," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "Give Hummel some credit. He hit some big shots.

"At halftime, we talked about competing. We did that, yet we didn't make plays down the stetch."

Hummel, who did not play in the previous meeting with Michigan State, finished 9-of-15 from the floor and 4-of-7 on 3-pointers.

"He's a really impressive kid," Izzo said. "He gets better every day. He's got a great demeanor. He's calm. Toughness is Chris Kramer. Calmness is Hummel."

Freshman E'Twaun Moore scored 12 points and Kramer added four, five assists and five steals for Purdue.

Lucas finished with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting for the Spartans, who had 19 turnovers in dropping to 2-3 on the road in the league this season.

The Boilermakers were nearly in complete control in the first half behind the play of Hummel and Moore.

The duo combined for 23 points in the opening 20 minutes, as Purdue went on runs of 11-0 and 12-0 en route to building its 18-point lead in the closing seconds. Hummel had two 3-pointers and sank two free throws on that second burst, giving the Boilermakers a 34-16 advantage with 33 seconds remaining.

Hummel completed an impressive sequence with just over a minute left. The swingman raced in from the left baseline to save an airball by Moore from going out of bounds under the basket and got the ball back in the right corner for a 3-pointer, making it 32-16 with 1:07 remaining.

Suton's layup with 10 seconds to play cut the Spartans' deficit at halftime to 34-18.