Rapid Reaction: Purdue Crushes No. 8 Michigan State
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Getting clobbered on the road in the Big Ten is a real thing, and No. 8 Michigan State, the last unbeaten team in the conference, found that out the hard way Sunday against Purdue at raucous Mackey Arena.
Purdue was in complete control right from the start and won easily, pounding the Spartans 71-42. It was the first conference loss for Michigan State in what was really its first test on the road in league play this season. The Spartans were a 4.5-point favorite, according to VegasInsider.com, but were never in the game.
Purdue, now 10-7 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten, dashed out to a quick 19-4 lead and led by 20 midway through the first half. Michigan State never got close than 11 points the rest of the way. It was the lowest output of the year for the Spartans, who had been averaging 81.3 points per game.
Trevion Williams led the way for Purdue with 16 points. Sophomore guards Sasha Stefanovic and Eric Hunter Jr. added 10 and Evan Boudreaux was great off the bench, scoring 11 points and making three 3-pointers.
Purdue's statistics are wildly better at home than they've been on the road, so it was nice to get back home after a pair of tough losses at Illinois and Michigan. It was its second home win against a top-8 team this year—and both were routs. The Boilermakers beat then No. 5-ranked Virginia 69-40 in early December.
Michigan State came into the game as the only unbeaten team in the Big Ten, and was two games up in the loss column on six teams. But it had just won three straight games at home (Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota), and its only conference road game had been at lowly Northwestern, where it was the only Big Ten team to win on the road in that 14-game December window.
That first half might have been Purdue's best of the year. Their defense was sensational, forcing Michigan State to go 0-for-9 from 3-point range, and Cassius Winston, the second-leading scorer in the Big Ten, had only two first-half baskets. Winston finished with just 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting, and had nine turnovers.
Big Ten home teams are 31-5 so far in the league, and the only two wins by underdogs came from Wisconsin, which has won at Ohio State and Penn State. It's that hard. Wisconsin also lost at home to Illinois as a favorite, and that's been it. Purdue made a point of that.
Aaron Henry made Michigan State's first 3-pointer 4 minutes into the second half, and it pulled Michigan State to within 12 at 39-27, thanks to Purdue making only one of its first seven shots.
Michigan State got no closer than 11 points, and a 19-3 Purdue run put the game away. The lead was up to 62-38 with 4:56 to go when Izzo had to take another timeout. Nothing changed and the Boilermakers kept building on their lead until reaching the 71-42 final score.