The Purdue Boilermakers were never quite able to catch a run against Michigan State. Although the Boilermakers stayed close, the Spartans were just too much, earning a 94-79 win.
In the first half, the Spartans started off strong, winning the tip off and then connecting on a three-pointer in the opening seconds of the game. Purdue’s defense often held out the Spartans to last seconds of the shot clock, but the Spartans refused to miss any three-pointers.
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo simply said: “The stats were mindboggling.”
Purdue head coach Matt Painter said that the Boilermakers struggled staying with the Spartans defensively. According to Painter, the Spartans do things at a lot of different angles.
“We were trying to stay with them, but we weren’t,” Painter said. “If [the players] guard against good players the way we say, and they score, it’s on me. But if [the players] do it their way it’s on them.”
Sophomore guard Ronnie Johnson agreed the team struggled defensively.
“We could have done a better job guarding Gary Harris,” Johnson said. “We did a bad job staying with him on the screen and couldn’t close the gap. It was frustrating. We kept fighting and fighting. Defense wins games and we have to take it more seriously”
Freshman guard Kendall Stephens also expressed his frustration against the Spartans offense.
“It’s frustrating, “Stephens said. “You can’t trade baskets with anyone in the Big Ten, especially Michigan State. Trying to outshoot them isn’t gong to win you games.”
Sophomore Rapheal Davis explained that Harris outplayed some of the Boilermaker’s screens defensively, leaving him open for three point opportunities.
“Sometimes [Harris read our screens],” Davis said. “You try to stick with somebody like that, but sometimes [Harris] just made a better play than us.”
According to Painter, Michigan State fed off their three-point shooting. Painter states that after Harris made a couple threes, it was tough to stop, and was contagious for the whole Michigan State team, leading them to break the record of the most three pointers made against a Purdue team.
“Tonight Michigan State was great, they fed off their three-point shooting,” Painter said. “They showed their ceiling offensively. You can really see where their ceiling can be from a national standpoint.”