Purdue Basketball: Ryne Smith Proves He's This Season's Go-to Guy

James EvensCorrespondent INovember 14, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 20:  Ryne Smith #24 of the Purdue Boilermakers celebrates in the first half of the game against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the United Center on March 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Purdue basketball fans came into this season with the question, who is going to be the go-to guy this season?

After losing JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore to graduation, Purdue was left with a large void to fill.

The return of senior forward Robbie Hummel took up some of that void, but not all of it. Ryne Smith stepped up and answered the question about who would fill the rest tonight.

Smith scored 26 points on 9-15 shooting against High Point, including eight three-pointers, which ties the school record held by Hummel and Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin.

Smith came up huge tonight, hitting clutch shots down the stretch, including what would be the game-winning shot with very little time remaining.

It should be a relief to see Ryne getting off to a good start this season after a poor exhibition season and a poor first game shooting.

The thing about Ryne Smith is that you can't question his heart and his desire.

Surely everyone is going to focus on Hummel, as he is the big-time player for Purdue this season, but Ryne Smith is the guy that this season could truly come down to.

Will he be able to step up and replace the three-point, clutch shooting of E'Twaun Moore? Only time will tell, but after the first close game of the season it seems as though he has a shot. 

However, this all being said, when the time is running out and the game is on the line, don't necessarily expect Ryne to get the first shot at it, because Purdue does have Robbie Hummel still.

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