On Saturday, the 18th ranked Michigan State Spartans, coming off of a loss to Minnesota on Tuesday, took on the Purdue Boilermakers in their B1G home opener.
Purdue came into the game at 7-6 and were coming off of a huge upset win at home against Illinois and were hoping to continue this streak on Saturday against another ranked foe from the B1G conference. However, it was all Michigan State could do to prevent themselves from having an 0-2 start in conference play.
In the first half, the game was played pretty tight throughout, with neither team able to gain much of an upper hand. Nevertheless, Michigan State did end up taking a lead into the break, 36-30, after receiving big lifts from the shooting of guards Gary Harris and Travis Trice, who combined to go 5-6 from behind the arc and score 19 points.
When the second half began, things got very physical and fouls started to pile up on both sides like mad. Michigan State didn’t even make a field goal in the second half until the 12:19 mark, when freshman Denzel Valentine found sophomore Branden Dawson inside for a layup to put the Spartans up 49-41.
From that point on, Michigan State never looked back. Gary Harris’ hot hand continued as he was able to connect on three more 3-pointers to finish with 22 points, including 6-8 from downtown, helping the Spartans close out the Boilermakers 84-61.
“Gary Harris really killed us,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said of Harris’ shooting. “He got into a rhythm. You can’t let a guy like that get going.”
Harris, who had been in a little bit of a shooting slump lately, bounced back in a big way in this game, having possibly his best game of the season