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Boilers historic 3-point performance buries Huskers

by Josh Weinfuss
IU Super Bowl Student News Bureau

INDIANAPOLIS – While his Purdue teammates were shooting their way into the Big Ten Tournament record books, Robbie Hummel got to enjoy a rare night of rest.

Hummel played just 25 minutes in Purdue’s 79-61 win over Nebraska Thursday night in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, partly because of early foul trouble, but also because of the big leads the Boilermakers were able to build without him.

While Hummel was checking in and out of the game, the Boilermakers tied the Big Ten Tournament record for most three-pointers in a game, hitting 13 of 25.

“I thought the difference for us was our ability to make our threes and defend them at the three-point line,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said.

Twice Thursday night, Purdue went on sizeable runs.

In the first half, however, the Boilermakers couldn’t sustain a 17-0 spurt that put them ahead 25-12 with seven minutes, 16 seconds left in the first half, and led by just eight at halftime.

In the second half, Purdue led by six less than five minutes in when D.J. Byrd hit the second of his three three-pointers to ignite a 16-3 run that buried the Cornhuskers.

The first run was preempted by a few defensive stops, Purdue guard Ryne Smith said. Smith finished with 15 points, all on 3-pointers.

“That opens up a ton of stuff for our offense,” Smith said. “We were fortunate to get some of them to go down tonight.”

Nebraska buried eight 3-pointers, but considering they came on 27 attempts, Painter considered it a defensive victory for Purdue. The Cornhuskers were led by Bo Spencer’s 22 points and Toney McCray’s eight rebounds.

Five Boilermakers scored in double-digits, led by Anthony Johnson’s 17.

The freshmen took advantage of Nebraska’s game plan to focus on Hummel and Byrd.

“It was our ball movement,” Johnson said. “That was giving me the opportunity to drive the lane and they weren’t packing it in.

“I just try to come in and be aggressive and give some energy. If the offense comes I’m going to take advantage of it.”

Byrd was the only other bench player to score in double figures with 10. Starters Terone Johnson had 16 and Hummel had 10.

For Hummel, who logged 1,001 minutes this season, a pedestrian 25 – seven below his season average – was a welcomed break with Ohio State waiting Friday night.

While Hummel is on his way out, Johnson’s career is just beginning, and his production Thursday night was a welcomed sight for Painter.

“I think more importantly when guys go out, and other guys step up and play well it really helps you,” Painter said. “I think it’s great that Anthony Johnson came in and played within himself but was still aggressive. He did some other good things. He had four assists and six rebounds.

“That was definitely the best game of his career.”

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