East Lansing, MI – In the final minutes against Purdue Friday night, Michigan State didn't find much offensively, and Tom Izzo stuck with six players.
Rocket Watts, A.J. Hoggard, Joshua Langford, Aaron Henry, Malik Hall, and Joey Hauser – an interesting decision considering Trevion Williams towered over most Spartans at 6-foot-10.
The Boilermakers best player can defend, score, pass, and rebound, a fact MSU found out in his 24-point second half and game-winning bucket.
It seemed like the wrong approach.
Or an indictment on the Michigan State big men and its problems moving forward.
"That was the decision I made," Izzo told reporters in the postgame press conference. "I'm all good with critical decisions. If I didn't' make the right one, I'll man up to it."
The Spartans should have won this game, but the inability to slow Williams down, trade buckets, or protect the ball in the final 20-minutes crushed their chances.
After halftime, Michigan State was 4-for-18 from the floor (22.9%) with ten turnovers as they blew a 17-point lead.
"We didn't deserve to win; they deserved to win because they made winning plays," said Izzo.
Izzo tried searching for an advantage; saying his focus remained on not giving up 3-pointers down the stretch (Purdue finished 3-for-12 overall), hence the lack of Marcus Bingham Jr. or Mady Sissoko late.
But with less than 10-seconds left, Purdue had possession, and when defense was all that mattered, Izzo didn't make any changes.
It cost the Spartans as Williams easily swished the short jumper; giving PU the comeback victory it was searching for.
"In those last 20-seconds, they made the effort plays," junior captain Aaron Henry said. "A couple of things went their way, but I missed a free throw before that; I missed that floater at the end. It's just winning time, and we gotta grow from it."
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