Friday's Big Ten: Upstart Penn State can't stop Purdue

Associated Press

Chicago — Rapheal Davis pulled A.J. Hammons aside, and told the 7-foot center it was time for him to step up. Fortunately for Purdue, Hammons was already on his way to a big game.

Hammons scored 23 points on 7-for-10 shooting, and the rugged Boilermakers wore down Penn State in the second half of a 64-59 victory in the Big Ten tournament on Friday.

"He was a game-changer on both ends of the floor," Davis said. "I've been telling him since we were younger, 'You can change games whenever you want to.' I went out and told him that it's time to take over. You can see by his numbers he was a big factor in today's game."

Asked about Davis' message, a grinning Hammons said the conversation had no effect on him, leading to a chuckling postgame exchange between the juniors.

"I'm not trying to take away from Ray, but no, it didn't inspire me," Hammons said. "I heard what he said, but ...."

"I was just in the moment. I was in the moment," Davis jumped in. "I've been around A.J. so long, I know when to say things to him and when not, and I knew at that point in time he wasn't listening, I just wanted to talk to somebody."

Davis added 13 points as Purdue advanced to the tournament semifinals for the first time since it won the title in 2009. Hammons also had nine rebounds, leading a strong effort on the glass that helped the Boilermakers play keep-away during a key stretch in the second half.

Next up for Purdue (21-11) is a rematch with top-seeded Wisconsin, which advanced with a 71-60 victory over Michigan. The Boilermakers lost 62-55 to the Badgers on Jan. 7.

"I think what we learned is the same thing we knew before. They're really, really talented," Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said. "They can hurt you in a lot of ways."

D.J. Newbill scored 19 points for Penn State (18-16), and Ross Travis had 10 points and nine rebounds. But the 13th-seeded Nittany Lions, who advanced with victories over Nebraska and Iowa, seemed to run out of energy in the final five minutes of their third game in three days.

Newbill was 6-for-18 from the field. The senior guard scored 44 points on 44 percent shooting in the wins over the Cornhuskers and Hawkeyes.

"That team as a whole is a great defensive team," Newbill said.

The Nittany Lions had a 50-44 lead with 9:10 left, but then went scoreless for the next 81/2 minutes. Davis, who was plagued by foul trouble in the first half, helped lead the defensive effort on Newbill and the Boilermakers surged in front with a 13-0 run.

Jon Octeus made two foul shots with 53.2 seconds to go, giving Purdue a 57-50 lead. Newbill stopped the drought with a 3 with 40 seconds remaining, but it was too late for the Nittany Lions, who were outrebounded 41-32.

"I don't think fatigue played a role in how we played in the final minutes," Newbill said.

But Penn State coach Patrick Chambers acknowledged burning a quick timeout in the second half to help get his team some extra rest.

"Three days, three games in the Big Ten is very difficult," he said, "and the way these guys competed today in the second half, they gave it everything they had, and I think this is a stepping stone for our program."

No. 8 Maryland 75, Indiana 69: Dez Wells scored 22 points, Melo Trimble added 17 and Maryland won its first Big Ten tournament game in the quarterfinals.

The Terrapins (27-5) got nine points from Wells in the final nine minutes and made just enough defensive stops down the stretch to put away from the Hoosiers (20-13). They shot 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final 39 seconds to seal it.

That gave the longtime ACC powers their eighth straight win and a spot in Saturday's semifinals against the Ohio State-Michigan State winner.

Yogi Ferrell led Indiana with 18 points. Troy Williams scored 17 and grabbed nine rebounds. But the Hoosiers shot only 36 percent and will have to wait to find out if they're headed to the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Tom Crean hoped Thursday's win over Northwestern was enough, but that will be up to the selection committee.

Maryland, meanwhile, is headed to the NCAAs for the first time in five years after making a strong transition from the ACC to the Big Ten. The Terrapins set a school record for regular-season victories with 26. But they sweated this one out until the end.

In a charged atmosphere, with fans from both sides trying to drown each other out, neither team would budge.

Maryland was leading 62-55 with 7:23 remaining after Jared Nickens nailed a 3-pointer, delighting a boisterous Terrapins contingent, but the Hoosiers did not go away quietly.

Indiana was within 64-62 when Evan Smotrycz hit two free throws for Maryland. Two more foul shots by Wells after a defensive stop made it 68-62 with 1:18 remaining.

Ferrell answered with two free throws for Indiana, Jake Layman missed the front end of a one for Maryland, and the Hoosiers' Robert Johnson hit two more foul shots to make it 68-66 with 39 seconds left.

Indiana immediately fouled Smotrycz, who buried two more pressure-filled free throws to make it a four-point game, and the Terrapins made two more defensive stops to clinch the victory.