WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Robbie Hummel did everything he could to rally Purdue on Sunday.
He just didn't have enough help.
The fifth-year senior scored 24 points, had 15 rebounds and three assists, but No. 7 Michigan State shut down the short-handed Boilermakers in the second half and handed Purdue a potentially devastating 76-62 loss.
"We need to keep getting wins and building our resume for the tournament because it would be a real disappointment for the three of us (seniors) if we missed it," Hummel said.
Sunday's game came less than 48 hours after Purdue coach Matt Painter booted starting guard Kelsey Barlow off the team and suspended versatile swingman D.J. Byrd. Byrd was arrested for public intoxication. Barlow was dismissed after his second team infraction in 11 months.
And without them, the Boilermakers (17-10, 7-7 Big Ten) ran out of bodies. Lewis Jackson finished with 15 points, while Ryne Smith and Anthony Johnson each scored 10.
The problem: It took Purdue nearly seven minutes to make a basket in the second half, blowing a 38-35 lead. And after starting 1 of 23, Purdue never seriously challenged again.
Even Painter acknowledged not having Barlow and Byrd hurt his team.
"I'm proud of our seniors. I thought all three of those guys, even though they didn't shoot the ball great, came out and were good leaders for us and played well," Painter said. "Our guys aren't perfect on our team right now, but I think they're going in the right direction in terms of playing and giving us a good effort. But it (the result from the incident) is disappointing. ... I feel like I let our team down by doing that (giving a second chance), because I made a decision that was best for the individual and in the long run, it wasn't best for our team."
Michigan State (22-5, 11-3), meanwhile, found a way to win -- by following the lead of star forward Draymond Green.
Green scored 20 points, had 10 rebounds, seven assists and almost single-handedly shut down Hummel, who scored 18 points in the first half.
At halftime, coach Tom Izzo put the game squarely on Green's broad shoulders and the senior responded in ways that exceeded Izzo's expectations.
"Boy, did he answer the bell," Izzo said. "We wanted the ball in his hands a lot, and we put it there. I just thought he made some big-time plays."
The victory gives Michigan State a one-game lead in the conference title race over No. 6 Ohio State and No. 17 Michigan with four games remaining -- at Minnesota, home against Nebraska, at No. 18 Indiana and a season-ending rematch in East Lansing against the Buckeyes.
But this one had Green's stamp all over it after Michigan State trailed 38-35 at the half.
When Green and the Spartans returned to the floor, they made the necessary changes and reverted to their more traditional form of tough, physical defense with a dominating performance on the glass.
Hummel did what he could to make amends after an 0 for 11 shooting performance at East Lansing last month.
He rallied the Boilermakers after Michigan State went on an early 10-0 run and by halftime, Hummel had the Boilermakers in front 38-35 against a team that was allowing only 58.5 points per game.
But when Izzo went to the locker room, he challenged Green and his teammates to start playing Michigan State defense.
"It was like 'What's going on here? This is not us,'" said Austin Thornton, who had a career-high 17 points for the Spartans. "We've been a very, very, very good defensive team this year, and we had to make some adjustments, which we discussed at halftime."
The changes flipped the game.
Thornton opened the second half with a mid-range jumper and Derrick Nix followed that with a layup to make it 39-38. Keith Appling then hit 1 of 2 free throws, Brandon Wood knocked down a 3-pointer and Thornton scored on a putback to make it 45-38 with 14:35 to go.
Hummel finally broke the shutout with two free throws and Smith knocked down a 3-pointer, Purdue's first basket of the second half, with 13:05 to go to make it 45-43.
Then Michigan State went on a 17-3 run to take a 62-46 lead with 7:09 left, and Purdue never got closer than eight again.
"He (Izzo) said 'I'm challenging you, you gave up 18 points and that's not all you, but that is your man,'" Green said. "You know that's inexcusable. You can't give up 18 points to anyone in a half."