I was worried about this one. It is never easy to win in East Lansing. I was worried when Michigan hit 7 of its first 10 threes and built an 8 point lead late in the first half. I was worried when Miles Bridges when coast-to-cast untouched to tie it at the end of the first half after Purdue had gone on a nice run to finally take hte lead. I was worried when Purdue had an 11-3 foul advantage because that is almost ALWAYS evened up in the second half.
I shouldn’t have been worried because they taunted Caleb Swanigan.
Caleb was a monster tonight. He was a rampaging beast that strikes fear in the hearts of lesser men. They couldn’t guard him. They fouled him and he hit free throws. He hit his first three 3-point attempts (and it was the first time in his career he has hit three threes in a game). They could not keep him off the glass. He even scored on his only missed three, as Michigan State fell asleep and he went in to grab the rebound and put it back.
His final line? 25 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 of 6 from the line, probably another B1G Player of the Week Award, and the joy of dribbling out the final seconds of an 11 point win after he was hounded for two hours.
Yeah, you like what you missed out on, Michigan State?
I know this is not a vintage Michigan State team. They may not even make the tournament. They still have an aura about them though because they have Izzo. They have excellent players that are always scary. Bridges probably got Freshman of the Week with 33 points and 7 rebounds, plus a highlight reel dunk that I couldn’t do on my son’s 4-foot goal int he back yard.
Biggie still silenced them, and he had a lot of help:
P.J. Thompson - Seriously, how many big shots does he have to make? He hit a backbreaker three with about 4 minutes left that silenced the crowd. Even with early foul trouble he had 10 points and 3 assists with zero turnovers.
Dakota Mathias - He did what he always does. I didn’t think he had done much, then he hit a huge three before Thompson’s. The pair pushed a dangerous four-point lead to 10 with about four minutes left and broke the will of the home crowd. Dakota finished with a 10-7-3, also with no turnovers.
Carsen Edwards - He still had some freshman moments, but 10 first half points were huge. He finsihed with 12 points on 5 of 12 shooting. He is only going to get better.
Vince Edwards - He had a rough night from the floor, but was 6 of 6 from the line with 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Isaac Haas - Imagine if he had played more. He played only 15 minutes, barely int he sdecond half, and he had 11 points.
Ryan Cline - He had 6 points, but don’t leave him open as he hit two threes.
I have often said that for Purdue to have a shot at the Big Ten title it needed to go at least 4-1 in the five game stretch that started tonight and it needed to go 2-1 at Michigan State, Indiana, and Maryland. Tonight it got one of those critical wins.
On to Nebraska on Sunday.