Feb. 5, 2008
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Purdue celebrated its first national ranking in four years with a win.
Robbie Hummel scored 17 points and E'Twaun Moore added 16 to help the 24th-ranked Boilermakers beat Penn State 67-53 on Tuesday night.
Purdue coach Matt Painter said his young team handled the pressure of being newly ranked well.
"I think we did a good job of just focusing on Penn State," he said. "We didn't talk about the ranking much, except to say once you get ranked, you want to stay ranked. It means you're playing good basketball."
Marcus Green scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half for the Boilermakers (18-5, 9-1 Big Ten), who won their eighth straight to move into sole possession of first place in the league.
Mike Walker scored 12 points and Danny Morrissey added 11 for Penn State (11-11, 3-7).
The win gave the Boilermakers their best conference start since the 1989-90 season.
Moore, a freshman guard, had his second consecutive strong outing. He scored 20 points in the second half of a win at Illinois last Saturday. Painter was impressed that he got his 16 points on just six field-goal attempts.
"He's been very efficient lately," Painter said. "It's not just scoring the ball, it's taking care of the basketball, getting assists, not having many turnovers. He's picking his spots."
Green, a reserve, scored 15 points against Illinois.
"He's ben very consistent for us the last couple of weeks," Painter said. "He played strong, he played solid and he made some big plays."
Balanced scoring has been one of Purdue's best qualities all season. The Boilermakers have had four different leading scorers during the winning streak.
"That's what's special about them," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "They can beat you in so many ways. They have six or seven guys that can beat you on any given night."
Purdue won despite losing reserve forward Scott Martin midway through the first half with a sprained right ankle.
Penn State was coming off a win against then-No. 8 Michigan State on Sunday. The Nittany Lions couldn't duplicate that success against Purdue because of 38 percent shooting in the second half. The Nittany Lions also shot 36 percent from the free throw line.
Purdue won both games against Penn State this season and its fourth straight overall in the series. The Boilermakers won 64-42 at Penn State on Jan. 23
Purdue led 39-36 before Green scored on a putback and was fouled by Jamelle Cornley. Green made the free throw, and Cornley left the game for good with a bloody lip. Cornley finished with eight points and six rebounds.
Purdue led 48-43 before going on an 8-0 run during which four different players scored. Purdue held the Nittany Lions scoreless for nearly 5 minutes during that stretch. The final points during that run were two free throws by Hummel with 7:19 to play that gave the Boilermakers a 56-43 lead. The Nittany Lions never came closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
"We went in at halftime and just made a point to have more energy," Green said. "Turn up the intensity and let the crowd get into it."
Purdue led 33-23 on a jumper by JaJuan Johnson with 2 minutes left in the first half, but Penn State closed with a 7-0 run to cut Purdue's lead to 33-30 at halftime. Penn State shot 57 percent in the first half, but committed 12 turnovers.
Painter said the Big Ten start is impressive, but there's more to accomplish.
"We have beaten some tough teams," he said. "I'm proud of our staff and players, and we're going to stay the course. It's not a 10-game conference season. We have a lot of basketball left to play."