Since 2011, Purdue was 0-7 against Michigan State. With a roster loaded with huge (literally) talent, they were poised for some revenge.
The Boilermakers stormed out of the gates and knocked the Spartans down right away. Senior guard Rapheal Davis exploded for 16 points in the first nine minutes of the game, including 4-4 from three. Before Tom Izzo could blink, his Spartans were down 15. The first seven minutes went by without a single whistle.
Bryn Forbes and Eron Harris struggled mightily in hostile territory, combining for five points on 2-11 shooting. Purdue’s bigs manhandled Matt Costello and Deyonta Davis early. It seemed like anyone who stepped in the paint picked up a foul. *Deep breath* Costello, Davis, Kenny Goins, Gavin Schilling, AJ Hammons, Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan all picked up two fouls each before the half was over.
Someone must have placed a lid over the Spartan basket because they could not get anything going on offense. Purdue played stifling defense, cutting off passing lanes and forcing shot clock violations. On the other side of the ball, the Boilermakers destroyed their normal shooting rate, going 62.5 percent from the field and 75 percent from three. That would explain the 46-30 advantage after one frame.
The second half was the polar opposite of the first. Purdue suddenly went ice cold, going 4-21 in the first 10 minutes. The Spartans, meanwhile, 9-17.
Michigan State made a roaring comeback in the second half on one possession. Valentine buried a corner three to cut the lead to nine when a foul off the ball on Purdue was called. With a fresh shot clock, Valentine pulled up on the wing and knocked down another three. One possession, six points. Instant game-changer. 50-44 Purdue, four minutes into the second half.
Matt McQuaid sliced and diced his way among the trees for a tough basket, and all of the sudden MSU was within one, 56-55. Just over a minute later, the game was tied. An incredible comeback in an even tougher environment.
Both teams traded body blows for the next few minutes. To say the game was physical is an understatement. There were no easy layups with Hammons patrolling the paint. He finished with eight blocks, more than every Spartan combined.
MSU held a slim lead for the latter stages of the second half. Their largest lead of the entire game was only four. Swanigan tied the game at 72 with a jump hook over the outstretched arm of Davis. Hammons continued his block party on the next possession with a swat on Davis.
With a chance to put the dagger in his former team, Swanigan pulled up for an NBA-range three-pointer with less than 10 seconds left and badly missed everything. Valentine missed a contested jumper at the last second and the game was headed to overtime.
Davis fouled out two minutes into overtime after scoring eight points and nabbing four rebounds. Schilling followed right behind him the next possession. That left just Costello and Goins as MSU’s only big men left in the game to deal with Purdue’s giants.
Purdue gained a four-point edge with 90 seconds remaining when Goins was left wide open for an easy layup. A missed shot by the Boilermakers on the next possession gave MSU the ball with 21.3 seconds left, down 81-79.
Valentine came out of the timeout and drove to the basket for a layup in traffic, tying the game. Purdue called timeout with 6.7 seconds left, drawing up one last play. Valentine was called for a foul fighting over a screen, giving Purdue two free throw attempts. Rapheal Davis only made one, but a mad scramble for the ball ran the clock out. Purdue finally defeated MSU 82-81.
Davis finished with six of Purdue’s eight three-pointers to go along with a team-high 24 points. Hammons dominated the boards with 13 rebounds and eight blocks.
For MSU, Goins had one of the best games of his young career with nine points and nine rebounds. Costello pitched in 11 and five boards. But the star of the night, unsurprisingly, was Valentine. Once again, the senior was a hair away from a triple-double: 27 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds.
Next up for MSU is a home matchup with Indiana on Valentine’s Day. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. and can be seen on CBS.