Zach Edey and No. 3 Purdue earn hard-fought win over Michigan State


MSU head coach Tom Izzo watches his team dismantle Western Michigan 90-46 on Nov. 12, 2021/ Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Luca Melloni, Sports Editor

EAST LANSING — In a game that came down to the final seconds, the Michigan State men’s basketball team fell short against No. 3 Purdue as the Boilermakers earned a 64-63 win. Despite Tyson Walker’s 30-point performance, Purdue’s Zach Edey stole the spotlight with a career-high 32 points and the game-winning shot. 

Walker recorded the first 30-point game for Michigan State since Cassius Winston scored 32 points against Michigan on Jan. 5, 2020.

Purdue improves to 17-1 on the season while MSU is now 12-6.

“There are not many times when I enter the locker room and thank my team for competing,” head coach Tom Izzo said. “We battled back and out-rebounded them [Purdue]. I felt like we gave everything we got, except for the beginning.”

With just three seconds left, Edey hit the game-winner. The Spartans had one more chance to win the game with 1.8 seconds left with Walker, but his rushed attempt fell short.

Michigan State was down by as much as 13 points in the first half before guard A.J. Hoggard and Walker cut the deficit to two points before halftime. It was an unexpected lethargic start to the game for MSU.

“I thought we did a poor job early on,” Izzo said. “We wanted to move them, and we didn’t move them. Later on, we moved them and opened up some shots.”

The Spartans were without star forward Malik Hall after he left injured against Illinois on Jan. 13. It remains unclear if Malik Hall will return to the court soon.

“Malik [Hall] handled it so well, and we don’t know exactly what’s going on,” Izzo said. “A specialist just looked at it [Hall’s foot], and he had a meeting with him. Nothing looks good in the immediate future, but whether [he’s out] the full year or not, we don’t know.”

MSU’s wing play in the first chunk of the first half was not opening space for the guards to put shots up. It took until the last three minutes before halftime for Walker and Hoggard to find a scoring rhythm.

Edey recorded 17 points at halftime and foreshadowed what was to be a career performance. Although MSU center Mady Sissoko started defending the 7-foot-4 Boilermaker well at the start of the game, Edey’s size and power led him to a strong start against the Spartans.

“The last basket he [Edey] made hurt me more than anything because that was the game point for them,” Sissoko said. “It is difficult to stop him if you give [him] the angle.”

To start the second half, senior forward Joey Hauser tied the game at 27 and set the tone for the rest of the game. Michigan State took higher percentage shots and found their stride. Hoggard would end the game with 14 points and a game-high eight assists.

MSU turned the tide when Walker hit back-to-back three-pointers with 4:15 left to play. Purdue’s Fletcher Loyer, brother of former MSU guard Foster Loyer, traded three-pointers with Walker. Loyer ended the game with 17 points in 5-9 shooting.

Loyer’s ability to get to the rim late in the game made the difference for Purdue.

Purdue shot exceptionally well at the free-throw line, shooting 88%, while Michigan State shot 70% from the line.

“We’ve been through the wars before and experience helps in this kind of situation,” Hoggard said. “We’re going to build on that and continue to fight.”

With 12 seconds left on the clock, Walker notched his 30th point of the game, and the Spartans believed they had the game under their belt. The players believed it, and the fans did more.

“Tyson Walker has really grown as a man and so has A.J. [Hoggard],” Izzo said. “We can’t have bad starts. You can’t have empty possessions. We had a lot of those.”

In a packed Breslin Center, fans did their best to inspire MSU to an upset win over Purdue. The last time MSU took down a top-five team was against Purdue last February where Walker hit a game-winning three-pointer.

“We appreciate the Izzone,” Hoggard said. “They’re like our sixth man and one of the best sixth men in the country. We appreciate them for coming here every night and giving their all.”

It didn’t work out this time for MSU, but the fight was there. A fight and mental edge that was needed after losing to Illinois and losing one of their key players in Hall.

“We have a lot of basketball left,” Izzo said. “Thursday is going to be the same kind of battle.”

Michigan State returns to the hardwood on Thursday, Jan. 19 when they host Rutgers. Tip-off against Rutgers at the Breslin Center is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.