Tom Izzo and the Spartans Get a Monster 53-44 Win on the Road Against Purdue!

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West Lafayette, IN

Mackey Arena

 

A jubilant Izzo saw his team get their biggest win of the season tonight!  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

A jubilant Izzo saw his team get their biggest win of the season tonight! Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

The Spartans came into today’s game needing a win to keep their hopes alive for a Big Ten title. Even more than that, they needed a solid team performance to get this group of young men back on track for what could be a tournament run. They got both.

 

“When you play Michigan State it comes down to rebounding the basketball and playing harder than them,” were Purdue G Chris Kramer’s thoughts after the game. MSU had 46 rebounds compared to only 20 for Purdue. That turnover margin of +26 is an amazing stat considering the Spartans only won by nine.

 

JaJuan Johnson was even more direct praising the Spartans, “Credit MSU, they just played great defense.”   He was right as the Spartans held the #3 team in the country to only 30% shooting.

 

Head Coach Tom Izzo wasn’t as complimentary to his team as the Boilers. “The only good thing was that it was a tournament win. Knock down and drag out.” The crowd was amazing, but the Spartans never doubted that this was there game.

 

Izzo bragged about Draymond Green and Raymar Morgan saying about their effort, “They played like men….That was the prettiest ugly win I have ever had.” Morgan scored 16 points to lead his team and had 11 rebounds. Kramer said about Morgan, “Raymar Morgan is just a beast down low.” Green matched Morgan’s 11 boards and added 12 points of his own.

 

The downside was that the Spartans thought they had gotten rid of the turnover bug that had plagued them until recently. It was back today and the Spartans had 23.

 

As good as Green and Morgan were, Izzo saved his highest praise for Chris Allen. “Chris Allen didn’t score a point today, but definitely was our MVP for his defense.” I asked Allen in the locker room that if I had told him a year ago that he would have no points against a top three team in a win on the road and his coach would call him the MVP if he would have believed me? “No,” was his response followed by a long hearty laugh.

 

Izzo was truly happy for one of the first times all season and said about this win, “I felt today we had to win the game more than Purdue lose it.” He also tried to encourage the Spartan Nation when he said, “We’re gonna get better here.”

 

I agree. This was the season defining win some talking heads have been calling for with this team. With looming home dates this coming week with Penn State and Michigan, they should bring wins and another Big Ten title for Izzo.

 

It looks like he will add another banner and in case your wondering that is how he judges successful seasons. He said some time ago and has always maintained, “We don’t play for wins we play for banners.” 

 

Today the Spartans played ugly, but they played their toughest of the season. On the road against a number three team with the best crowd I have heard in person in years, this was truly a tournament win. For a tournament team.