Purdue can’t hold onto lead, season ends with 63-60 loss to Kansas
It would’ve been too good to be true. It was something you would expect to see in a movie; the hardened veteran leading his underdog team to victory over the heavy favorite. This Hollywood script ending just wasn’t meant to be as Robbie Hummel and Purdue were unable to pull off the upset of Kansas and fall in the round of 32 for the second consecutive season. In a game that the tenth-seeded Purdue had no business being within 20 points of second-seeded Kansas, Coach Matt Painter and his squad executed their game plan for 39 minutes. As you know, a college game last for 40 minutes, and Purdue came up just a minute short of victory. It is tough knowing that Purdue (22-13) was just a minute away from upsetting the Jayhawks (29-6) and advancing to the Sweet Sixteen for the third time in the past four seasons.
Purdue need someone to step up big time if they wanted a chance to upset Kansas, and they got that game from none other than Robbie Hummel. Hummel went off in the first half by hitting his first four shots, including three from beyond the arc. Kansas threw a multitude of defenders at Hummel, but no one could stop him, including National Player of the Year favorite Thomas Robinson. Robbie scored 22 points on 7 of 8 shooting and helped Purdue take a halftime lead of 36-30.
The game stayed in Purdue’s favor throughout the second half, until the final minutes of the contest. With under a minute remaining, the Boilers held a 60-59 lead when Lewis Jackson turned the ball over at the top of the key which lead to a Kansas bucket with 23.3 seconds remaining. Hummel got an open look at the other end on a three point shot but it rimmed out and Kansas’ Tyshawn Taylor took the ball to the other end for a dunk to put the Jayhawks up for good with 2.5 seconds left. Ryne Smith got a decent look at a potential game-tying three, but it hit off the rim to secure the Kansas victory.
Robbie Hummel finished with 26 points and nine rebounds for Purdue, while D.J. Byrd and Terone Johnson each added 10 points. Lewis Jackson had five points and five assists and Ryne Smith added three points as the seniors concluded their careers at Purdue. The Boilermakers did a great job at limiting Thomas Robinson early on. They were able to frustrate the Player of the Year candidate with constant double teams and held him well below his scoring average for the season. Coach Painter used many different lineups in this game and it proved to be effective. Painter’s coaching in this game was a big reason why Purdue had a chance to knock off Kansas.
Even with Purdue being in control for most of the game, I felt there were still some bad calls that went against the Boilers. Ryne Smith was called for an intentional foul early on during a play where it definitely looked like he made a clean strip of the ball. The referees also missed a pretty obvious call when Kansas center Jeff Withey interfered on a layup attempt by Anthony Johnson as he yanked on the net causing the shot the rim out. Of course Purdue could’ve made a couple of the free throws they missed, but the outcome could’ve been in Purdue’s favor had the right calls been made.
As the game ended, all attention was drawn to Robbie Hummel as his adversity filled career with the Boilermakers came to a heartbreaking end. Even if you are not a Purdue fan, you have to respect everything that Robbie Hummel has done with all he has gone through. It was really difficult seeing Robbie’s career end like that. Being so close to winning like the Boilers were, only to let it slip away. Like I said earlier, it would’ve been too good to be true had Rob hit a game winner to send Purdue to the Sweet Sixteen. I have a strong belief that Robbie is one of the greatest to ever put on the old gold and black. Though there may have been others with better statistics and more accolades, no one can match the determination, perseverance, leadership, toughness to go along with the talent that Robbie Hummel played with. It is hard to believe that that was the last time I will ever see Hummel suit up for Purdue and lead the Boilermakers into battle. I’ve been following Hummel since his high school days when he played for Valparaiso in the Duneland Conference with my LaPorte Slicers. Even when he was a rival, I still was a fan of Rob’s and have been one for the past five seasons at Purdue.
When I sat down and read Gregg Doyel’s article on Hummel’s career today on CBS Sports, I broke down. I wasn’t expecting to, but I just couldn’t help it. When someone who has had such an impact on the team and school you love is gone, it hurts knowing they will never put on a Purdue jersey again. Though the honor of having your number hanging in the rafters of Mackey Arena is reserved for All-Americans and 2,000 point scorers, it is only right that Robbie Hummel’s #4 is up there next season.
With that, we come to the end of the Baby Boiler era. A group of guys that brought Purdue back to national prominence in the college basketball world. Even before the Baby Boilers, Purdue fans should remember the contributions that guys like Carl Landry, David Teague, Chris Kramer, and Keaton Grant brought to the program. Along with them, JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore, Robbie Hummel, Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith were also the driving forces behind Purdue returning to the national scene. They have built the foundation that is Purdue basketball of the future, and you can count on it that the Boilermakers are here to stay. There will always be the “what if” questions surrounding the legacy of the Baby Boilers. As I know in my heart that Purdue would have at least one Final Four appearance had everything turned out how it should have. All I can say is thank you, Rob, Lewis, and Ryne for everything you have done for our great university. You will always be beloved members of the Boilermaker family.
We now usher in a new era of Purdue basketball, and I have a lot of faith that the best is yet to come. Coach Painter will lead Purdue to its breakthrough and he has brought in the right guys to do so. D.J. Byrd will be our senior leader next year coming off his Honorable Mention All-Conference selection and being the Sixth Man of the Year. Terone Johnson is turning into an elite scorer as we saw in the last part of the season and we should expect to see him as one of the leaders of next year’s team. Travis Carroll, Anthony Johnson, and Sandi Marcius played some of their best basketball late in the season and I feel they are going to make big strides this coming year. Jacob Lawson will have time to bulk up and really get involved in the Purdue system. Painter will also be bringing in a very talented group of freshman with redshirt Donnie Hale, Rapheal Davis, AJ Hammons, Ronnie Johnson, and Jay Simpson. Even with the losses of three great players, Purdue is here to stay. Though I am disappointed that Purdue’s season is over, I am already excited for next year and know that Boilermaker basketball will continue to succeed.