Feb 29, 2012; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Purdue Boilermakers seniors from left to right Ryne Smith (24) , Robbie Hummel (4), and Lewis Jackson (23) pose for a group photo on senior night after the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Mackey Arena. Purdue defeats Penn State 80-56. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Tonight went exactly as planned. The seniors were the dominant force behind a victory that likely clinched a sixth straight NCAA Tournament berth. Robbie Hummel, the man that has suffered through seemingly every injury short of Legionairre's Disease and hysterical pregnancy walked off the floor for the final time as the conquering hero. While we love Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith for their contributions, there is something about Rob that elevates him just a little more. Dry eyes were few, even with me 1,200 miles away in South Florida.
The critical play of the game was Robbie Hummel's four point play with four minutes left in the first half. Up to that point, the Nittany Lions had outplayed us in 56 minutes of basketball. They had just taken the lead on a three by Trey Lewis, closing a run that had pulled them back from the brink of an early eight point deficit. Rob delivered a four-point play, and it was game on from that point forward.
Once again, we saw Purdue dominate when it needed to and show that it is playing its best basketball at the right time. We have more weapons than just Rob, and we're becoming just a little bit dangerous. I love it.
Positives From The Second Penn State Game:
Robbie Hummel - Robbie finished his career at Mackey Arena just like he started it: by doing a little bit of everything. A 26-8-6 line is a true Robbie Hummel line. He had a hand in every part of this victory. Rob had played his last few games like a man on a mission. His time is running short, but he looks confident and like he is totally healthy for the first time in years. You know he is going to give it his best shot every night out, and he has really come on since the Michigan State game in East Lansing.
D.J. Byrd - D.J. was a little bit off in the Michigan game, but not tonight. I think he is a more dangerous weapon off the bench. He is also learning some valuable leadership skills from this year's seniors for next year when he is going to play a huge role as the main leader of a much younger team. What we're seeing from D.J. in these past few games is him emerging as the player he needs to be in the future. Fortunately, he is doing it at a time he can be a major contributor now.
Terone Johnson - Has TJ finally made The Leap to the next level? It certainly looks like it with his play in these past two games.
Lewis Jackson - LewJack's final game at Mackey will always be considered perfect. He was 6 for 6 from the field and dropped five assists.
Free Throw Shooting - Hitting 81% is good enough for me!
Assists - I love seeing 21 assists on 27 made baskets. That means we're playing Purdue basketball.
This is short because I have been traveling all day and I am tired, but you can discuss everything else in the comments. I leave you with two words: Beat IU.