WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP)—Robbie Hummel’s second-half performance against Indiana State was his best at Purdue, and the Boilermakers needed it.
The sophomore forward scored 20 of his career-high 25 points after halftime, and No. 14 Purdue beat the Sycamores 76-62 on Saturday. The Big Ten’s preseason player of the year was 2-for-7 from the field in the first half, but went 5-for-6 in the second.
“I felt like I had some good looks in the first half and didn’t knock them down,” he said. “In the second half, I was able to get into an offensive flow and make some shots.”
Hummel finished with eight rebounds and was 3-of-6 on 3-pointers.
Purdue was fortunate that Hummel found a rhythm because its leading scorer, E’Twaun Moore, went 2-for-10 from the field and finished with eight points. The Boilermakers’ inconsistency on offense made it difficult for them to pull away from the overmatched Sycamores.
“It seemed like we were a little antsy to shoot the ball,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “We were just pressing at times. Rob does a very good job of stabilizing us.”
JaJuan Johnson scored 12 points and Lewis Jackson added 11 for the Boilermakers (8-2), who won their third straight heading into next Saturday’s game against No. 23 Davidson.
Harry Marshall led Indiana State with 16 points and six assists, while Jay Tunnell scored 11 points and Isiah Martin added 10 for the Sycamores (1-8).
Marshall was playing in his first game this season after being academically ineligible for the first semester. He’s the team’s top returning scorer, and had scored 20 points against the Boilermakers last season.
Painter didn’t expect Marshall to play.
“Indiana State, obviously, is a better team with Harry Marshall,” Painter said. “He gives them a scorer, he gives them somebody who can break down the defense. He made a couple big-time pull-up 3s.”
Purdue, which shot 54 percent from the field in the second half and 49 percent for the game, improved to 28-4 all-time against Indiana State.
The Sycamores led through most of the first 10 minutes. An acrobatic layup by Tyler Cutter gave them a 20-17 lead and forced Purdue to call a timeout 9 minutes into the game.
Purdue responded with an 8-0 run. A 3-pointer by Hummel gave the Boilermakers a 25-20 lead and forced the Sycamores to take a timeout. Purdue extended its lead to 37-30 at halftime.
Purdue had played excellent defense in the first half of its previous two games, holding Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Ball State below Painter’s stated goal of 25 points per half. Hummel said Painter didn’t like the effort in the first 20 minutes against the Sycamores.
“He wasn’t happy,” Hummel said. “He questioned our intensity, and why we weren’t playing like we did against Ball State.”
It got worse before it got better for the Boilermakers. Rashad Reed and Tunnell scored consecutive baskets to start the second half as Indiana State cut Purdue’s lead to 37-34. Purdue came back with a 13-0 run that spanned more than 6 minutes to create some distance. The highlight was a fast-break dunk by Marcus Green that made it 50-34.
Indiana State cut the lead to 53-43 on a 3-pointer by Marshall. Moore was fouled on the other end, and he made the first of two free throws. He missed the second, but Hummel rebounded, scored, was fouled and converted the three-point play to increase Purdue’s lead to 57-43.
Marshall made another 3-pointer to make it 62-50, put Purdue answered again, this time with a 7-0 run, to put the game out of reach.
“They played like a team that’s 8-2 and plays with confidence,” Indiana State coach Kevin McKenna said.
McKenna noticed a hustle board near the player entrance at Mackey Arena that lists game-by-game leaders in assists, rebounds, charges taken, steals, deflections and dives. He said those categories symbolize what Purdue basketball is about.
“It’s right in the hallway, what’s important to them,” he said. “We have to get more of a feeling like that.”
Painter wasn’t as impressed with his team. He said Purdue’s performances have been “hit-and-miss” this season, and thought Saturday’s effort fell under the miss column.
“I thought they played harder than us, I thought they executed better than us,” he said. “We made a couple more plays, and obviously, we’re at home. That always helps.”