Robbie Hummel is helping Purdue stay focused on the present instead of looking ahead to the upcoming Big Ten season.
The junior forward tries to continue his strong play when the No. 4 Boilermakers host Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Tuesday night in their final tune-up before conference play.
Hummel scored 19 points and made all eight free-throw attempts to help Purdue (10-0) win 69-49 over Ball State on Saturday in Indianapolis.
The Big Ten preseason player of the year in 2008-09, Hummel overcame a sophomore season plagued by back problems to average a career-high 15.0 points - 19.0 on 50 percent shooting in his last three contests.
“Hummel’s a great player,” Ball State coach Billy Taylor said. “He can score the ball in a variety of ways, whether it’s 3s or post-up. He’s very difficult to stop.”
Hummel (7.3 rebounds per game) and fellow juniors E’Twaun Moore (16.1 ppg) and JaJuan Johnson (14.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg) have helped Purdue go undefeated through 10 games for the fourth time in school history.
The Boilermakers, winners of 15 of 16, will try to match the 1936-37 squad that started 11-0 before making a run at the 1993-94 team that opened a school-record 14-0.
Though Purdue recorded high-profile home victories over Tennessee and Wake Forest and a road win over Alabama, it has managed to stay focused against lesser competition. The Boilermakers won the rest of their games by at least 11 points.
That trend seems likely to continue against SIU-Edwardsville (2-9) - playing its second season of Division I basketball - before the Boilermakers open league play at Iowa on Dec. 29.
Hummel’s constant hustle and effort at both ends of the court is a big reason why Purdue has avoided an upset. He grabbed nine rebounds in each of the last two games - seven apiece on the defensive boards.
“He’s a mature player,” coach Matt Painter said. “He does a lot of little things to help you win games. He doesn’t get the credit for what he does on the defensive end. He sees a lot on the defensive end and covers up for a lot of mistakes that we make.”
SIU-Edwardsville faces its second Top 25 team this season and highest-ranked opponent ever. The Cougars lost 96-69 at then-No. 23 Illinois on Nov. 13.
“We’re going to look at every game individually and we’re going to be excited about every one of them,” coach Lennox Forrester told the school’s official Web site.
SIU-Edwardsville fell 79-61 to Loyola of Chicago on Sunday, their third straight defeat after wins over Drake and Texas-Arlington.
Sophomore forward Mark Yelovich had 18 points against Loyola and leads the team with 15.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest.
The Boilermakers will be meeting the Cougars for the second time. Purdue took the first matchup 117-71 on Dec. 1, 1973.