Some time off could help Purdue regroup after opening the Big Ten season with a tough home loss.
It appears, though, the week-long break wasn’t long enough for two key players.
The No. 14 Boilermakers will likely be without Robbie Hummel and Chris Kramer on Tuesday when they visit Penn State.
Purdue (11-3, 0-1) returns to the court Tuesday for the first time since a 71-67 overtime loss to Illinois last Tuesday. The Boilermakers have not opened conference play with consecutive defeats since 2005-06 en route to a 3-13 Big Ten record.
Coach Matt Painter said while the layoff has let several players get some needed rest, he added in his weekly press conference on Monday that Hummel (back) and Kramer (sprained foot) have not practiced since the loss and expressed doubt they’d be ready to face Penn State.
“They both say they’re getting better,” he said, “but I don’t know if they’re getting to the point where they’re going to play against Penn State.”
Kramer has started 11 games this season and is used mostly for his defensive expertise. Hummel’s back injury, meanwhile, leaves the Boilermakers a big hole offensively, as they’ll have to manage without his 13.8 points and team-leading 8.1 rebounds per game.
Painter said Hummel injured his back against Oklahoma on Nov. 28 and has been playing through it. The sophomore forward has struggled recently, averaging 7.3 points in the last three games while shooting 32.3 percent. Against the Illini, he scored seven points but had 11 rebounds.
“It’s lingered,” Painter said of Hummel’s injury. “Against Illinois he couldn’t sit down in the huddle and afterward he couldn’t get out of his chair.”
Hummel’s absence would place more pressure on E’Twaun Moore, Purdue’s leading scorer at 14.6 points per game. Moore scored 17 against Illinois but it wasn’t enough as Purdue, which had 12 turnovers to 13 assists, let the Illini go on a 9-0 run in overtime after the Boilermakers scored the first four points of the extra period.
“The main thing for us is to get healthy and stick together and understand that you’ve got to come to work every single day regardless of the situation,” Painter said.
Penn State (12-3, 1-1) is also looking to bounce back from a loss after falling 65-61 to Wisconsin on Saturday.
Stanley Pringle had a career-high 26 points—22 in the second half—but Nittany Lions leading scorer Talor Battle was held to a season-low six points on 2-of-11 shooting. Battle is the conference’s second-leading scorer, averaging 18.7 points, and had scored 25 or more in three of the previous four games.
“For us, it’s not so much what (Battle) did, we just didn’t get a third guy to score the ball,” Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said.
This game begins a difficult stretch for DeChellis’s team. They face three straight ranked conference opponents, visiting No. 22 Minnesota on Sunday and hosting No. 8 Michigan State next week.
Purdue has won four straight and nine of 11 against Penn State.