- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Robbie Hummel scored 20 points and No. 24 Purdue beat Penn State 79-65 Friday night in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.

Hummel missed both regular season games against the Nittany Lions with a hairline fracture in his lower back. He made up for it by making 8 of 12 shots and grabbing five rebounds.

Keaton Grant made his first five 3-pointers and scored 15 points, and E’Twaun Moore added 15 points and six assists for Purdue (23-9), which played with all-conference center JaJuan Johnson in foul trouble for most of the game.

Jamelle Cornley scored 20 points for Penn State (22-11), which would have given its NCAA tournament resume a major boost with a win. Talor Battle, the conference’s leading scorer, finished with 15 points on 4-for-12 shooting.

The Boilermakers advanced to play Illinois, a 60-50 winner over Michigan, in Saturday’s semifinals.

Ohio State will play No. 7 Michigan State in the other semifinal.

It was Purdue’s first tournament win at Conseco Fieldhouse, and just its second tournament win overall since 2002. Purdue lost to Illinois in the quarterfinals last season as a No. 2 seed.

The Boilermakers had lost three of four to fall to the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament.

Their recent struggles seemed forgotten at tipoff. Purdue shot 56 percent from the field and committed just five turnovers. The offensive outburst came on the heels of a miserable performance in a loss to Michigan State in the regular-season finale.

Hummel scored Purdue’s first five points on a 3-pointer, then a steal and dunk. After Moore hit a 3-pointer, Chris Kramer, a 6-foot-3 guard, threw down a monster tomahawk dunk over 6-9, 245-pound Andrew Jones to give the Boilermakers a 10-2 lead. Kramer finished with eight points and seven assists.

Purdue’s Nemanja Calasan hit back-to-back threes to make it 19-5 just over six minutes into the game.

Purdue never cooled off. The Boilermakers shot 63 percent in the first half and led 51-35 at the break. The Boilermakers made eight of 12 3-pointers in the first half on their way to their most productive opening 20 minutes of the season.

The Lions shot 46 percent in the first half, yet were getting blown out because of poor perimeter defense.

Penn State cut the lead to 56-44 early in the second half before Purdue went on a 10-0 run that included two 3-pointers by Hummel to put the game out of reach.

Penn State closed the game on an 8-0 run to make the score more respectable.

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