East Lansing, MI – The sting of Friday night's loss to Purdue could have a lasting effect on the Michigan State Spartans – it certainly won't fade away any time soon.
MSU's schedule doesn't get any easier, and they must find a way to regroup, even if it's challenging.
"There is no need to hang our heads," fifth-year senior Joshua Langford said. "It's still early in the season, and I believe we have a great basketball team. We can do a lot of high-level things. So, we should stay encouraged, and there's no need to put our heads down. But like I said, the loss does hurt, especially losing like that.
"It's tough. We had the lead, but at the end of the day, man, we just have to learn and just keep moving forward."
Naturally, losing doesn't ever feel good, but giving up a 17-point lead with 19 minutes left in regulation is gut-wrenching, especially when you consider the alternative, extending a winning streak and shooting up the national rankings.
Yet, it could have been avoided if not for ten second-half turnovers, shooting 4-for-18 from the field, and missing four free throws in the final minutes, which helped create opportunities for Purdue.
"It's gonna eat at everybody tonight," said junior captain Aaron Henry. "But in times like these, in adversity, people grow. I can't wait to see the steps that we take next and how far this team can go. I'm anxious to see it."
It's a nice sentiment, but the Spartans have been plagued by turnovers and an offense that disappears for long stretches all season.
Tom Izzo's decision to make freshman A.J. Hoggard his starting point guard has helped, but MSU struggles to find consistency from multiple guys, including Rocket Watts, Joey Hauser, Langford, and Gabe Brown.
However, the defense has come around in games against Rutgers and PU, giving Michigan State something to lean on in future contests.
"We can't play much harder than we played, but playing hard is only part of the job. You have to play hard; you have to play good, you have to play smart," said Izzo. "You know, the turnovers have been a problem in the last two games, and I knew Purdue was going to come at us. But our turnovers weren't caused by their defense, as much as they were caused by some foolish plays."
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