Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Purdue Lifts Conference with Win Over 'The U'

Purdue continues to do its job in building the Big Ten's basketball reputation.  The Boilermakers won for the third year in a year in the Big Ten - ACC Challenge beating Miami 76-65.

"It means a lot.  We talked about it before the game.  We said we wanted to do our part," said Robbie Hummel.  "We care a lot.  We want the Big Ten to win.  I think we take pride in the fact that we won (the Challenge) the last two years.  We don't want to lose to the ACC guys."

Hummel led the Boilermakers with 17-points and five rebounds.  He was one of three Purdue players in double-figures.  Lewis Jackson chipped in 15-points and Terone Johnson came off the bench with 13.

"(Miami) did a good job guarding me.  A lot of times they weren't helping off at all and that kind of opened up some lanes for our guards to penetrate and get some layups," said Hummel.

The good looks resulted in Purdue shooting 55-percent from the floor.  Through the first seven games, the Boilers have relied heavily on shots from three-point range.  Tuesday, those attempts weren't falling.  Purdue connected on just 4-of-16 from downtown, but the team made up for it by getting to the hole.

"Anytime someone goes small and they try to play more athletes, it makes sense to get the ball inside as much as possible," said head coach Matt Painter.

Miami struggled from the field.  The Hurricanes shot just 39-percent.  It's the third time in six games Jim Larranaga's club has posted a mark under 40-percent.

"You have to give Purdue credit for their man-to-man defense," said Larranaga.  "Quite frankly we are going through a little bit of a transition ourselves of learning what we are capable of doing."

Despite the struggles, the Hurricanes hung around.  They cut the deficit to as five late in the second half.  Malcolm Grant and Shane Larkin kept Miami in the ball game.  Both guards scored 16-points.  All of Larkin's buckets came in the second half.

But, Purdue was able to ice the game with several key defensive stops late and converting on trips to the free throw line.  The Boilers shot 20-29 from the charity stripe, including eight of their last nine.

"It got close and our guys were able to keep their poise and make a play," said Painter.  "We always led here, but it got close in the end. So I am pleased with them. You are not always pleased with how you got to that point, but it does help you and give you experience when you get into different types of games."

The Boilers improve to 7-1 and will travel to 11th ranked Xavier, Saturday.

Miami (4-2) will try to end its two game slide, Saturday, at home against Massachusetts.

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