WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Robbie Hummel didn't take a shot for the first 8 minutes against Nebraska.
But he let it rip the rest of the game. Hummel scored a
season-high 29 points to help the Boilermakers defeat Nebraska 83-65 on Wednesday night.
The senior forward scored eight points in a 77-second span to push Purdue's lead to 25-12 early, and the Boilermakers never led by fewer than seven after that flurry.
Hummel made 10 of 18 field goals and 4 of 10 3-pointers while grabbing seven rebounds for the Boilermakers (18-10, 8-7 Big Ten), who won the first meeting between the schools since 1979.
It was the second-highest point total of Hummel's career. He was coming off a 24-point, 15-rebound effort against Michigan State, and he had scored 27 points two games before that against Northwestern.
Hummel is averaging 24.8 points and 10.5 rebounds in his last four games and has located his shooting touch after struggling to find his way while recovering from ACL surgery on his right knee that caused him to miss last season.
"I think it's a combination of things," Hummel said. "My knee
is starting to feel better, and I've been able to practice more. I think it's helped. I think making shots can be contagious, so once you see the ball go in a few times, it makes it easier to shoot the next."
Purdue coach Matt Painter said it's more than just Hummel's shot that has changed.
"I think he's quicker to the basketball," Painter said. "I
think he's doing a little bit better in motion, and that allows him to let things come to him. He's quicker to the ball on rebounds too."
D.J. Byrd scored 15 points after being suspended for Sunday's game against Michigan State because he was arrested by Indiana State Police for public intoxication Feb. 17. He got a loud cheer when he entered the game, then a louder one when he drained a 3-pointer on his first shot.
Byrd made 5 of 8 3-pointers and contributed several impressive hustle plays. He insisted that missing Sunday's game gave him no extra motivation.
"It's just coming out and playing hard every single time," he
said. "Really, nothing different. Just still playing hard."
It was a much-needed win for the Boilermakers, who were reeling after their 76-62 loss to Michigan State.
The Boilermakers were just as pleased with how they won. Purduehas been involved in several close games recently and was relieved to avoid one Wednesday.
"We were talking about it on the bench, how it feels like it's
been forever since we've been able to take it easy at the end," Hummel said.
Bo Spencer scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half for
Nebraska (12-14, 4-11), which has lost five of six.
Hummel finished the first half with 18 points on 7-for-10
shooting as the Boilermakers led 47-30 at the break. Purdue shot 63 percent before the break and made 7 of 15 3-pointers. Nebraska shot 48 percent in the first half yet wasn't close.
The Boilermakers continued to roll in the second half, opening with a quick 8-3 run to extend their lead to 55-33. Purdue's fans began leaving with just under 4 minutes to play, and the only remaining drama came when they booed Nebraska for continually fouling and sending Purdue to the free throw line with the game out of reach.
Lewis Jackson had 13 points and five assists, Ryne Smith scored 12 points and made 4 of 8 3-pointers and Terone Johnson had 11 points and five rebounds. Purdue shot 55 percent and made 13 of 29 3-pointers.
"They spread it out so well," Nebraska coach Doc Sadler said.
"When they're making shots like they were making, they're not going to lose many basketball games."
Painter said the Boilermakers were smart about the shots they took, which hasn't always been the case.
"Offensively, we did a good job of making the extra pass and knowing where the shooters were on the court," he said. "I thought the guys did a good job of taking some rhythm shots and taking shots within the offense."
Painter said his team played as though it understood that it
needs wins to build its NCAA tournament resume. A home loss to
Nebraska could have done severe damage to Purdue's chances.
"I thought they came out and they were patiently aggressive,"