Zach Edey: 32 points, 17 rebounds, 2 blocks
Fletcher Loyer: 17 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists
Tyson Walker: 30 points, 3 rebounds, 4 3PT makes
AJ Hoggard: 14 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists
Flashback to February 26th of last season: #10 Purdue comes into the Breslin Center to take on an unranked Michigan State team. Tied at 65, MSU’s Tyson Walker was able to have Trevion Williams switched onto him and Walker took a deep 3 that rattled in with 1.1 seconds left, leading to the Spartan victory. Now flashforward to today as #3 Purdue comes into East Lansing against an unranked Spartan team and the game comes down to the wire. The Boilermakers and Spartans traded the lead 7 different times in the final 2:47 and Zach Edey made a layup to put Purdue up 64-63 with 2.2 seconds left. Michigan State would throw a deep pass that was deflected out of bounds by Brandon Newman, somehow only taking .4 seconds off the clock (we’ll talk about the refs later) and giving the ball to MSU in the front court. Coming off a screen it was Tyson Walker again in nearly the same spot as last year taking a three over Ethan Morton. Walker had scored MSU’s final 12 points, but he airballed this one, giving Purdue the win.
Final shot from Walker comes up short. Spartans fall to Purdue 64-63 pic.twitter.com/YNDJ7ZRQZp— SpartanSportsReport (@SSR_MSU) January 16, 2023
The first half of this game was definitely a rock fight as neither team could shoot the ball very effectively. Unlike Nebraska last time, Michigan State attacked Zach Edey at a particular time to throw off his rhythm, causing him to take an extra dribble and take a shot that isn’t his bread and butter. On the other side, Michigan State was struggling to hit jumpers. An 8-0 Zach Edey run got the Purdue lead to 11, and on the following miss by Michigan State, Zach Edey secured a rebound with Mady Sissoko’s arm in his. Zach had two hands on the ball the turned Sissoko, whipping him around, to which the refs called a foul on the MSU forward (the correct call). If not for the ball in his hands, Zach would have certainly been called for a hook and hold, but he shouldn’t have to let go of his rebound because someone stuck their arm in. Obviously, the Izzone and Tom Izzo were livid and when a back-cut dunk by Caleb Furst happened on Purdue’s subsequent possession, Izzo called a timeout and had one of his patented Izzy-fits. As is often the case following an Izzo meltdown, the refs completely changed the way the game was called there on out. Players were getting mauled on rebound attempts and screens but the refs decided to swallow their whistles. Michigan State would capitalize over the final 6 minutes, outscoring Purdue 14-3 to bring the score to 27-25 at the half.
The second half started terribly for Purdue as MSU went on a 7-0 run to go up 32-27. Purdue seemed rattled as they missed multiple layups and looked out of sync. A Zach Edey dunk and Fletcher Loyer 3 on a fast break tied the game at 32 and the lead would not be larger than 4 the rest of the way. There was a 4 minute stretch where the teams made 11 straight shots, bring the game from 48-46 MSU to 61-60 MSU. Fletcher Loyer and Tyson Walker were absolutely lights-out during this stretch and for Fletcher, it was a little bit sweeter. The ever-so-classy Izzone was shouting at Loyer all game long, chanting “Foster’s better” as Fletcher’s brother was a former Spartan. Fletcher got the last laugh as he hit 5-9 including 2-3 from deep and a perfect 5-5 from the line in the Izzone’s face. Fletcher and Zach were absolutely clutch in this one, providing over 76% of the team’s points. The only other Boilermakers to score were Furst with 8 including a big 3 down the stretch, Smith, and Gillis. Braden Smith struggled today with fouls (insert quip about bad refs) and turnovers. Braden finished with 4 and Mason Gillis hit a 3 for his only shot of the day.
Raise your hand if you’ve heard this one before: the refs made an impact on today’s game. I’m imagining a lot of stretched arms and there is a serious issue with Big Ten officiating. There are about 12 plays that should have been called different but I will focus on 2 of them. After Tyson Walker’s last made jumper with 11 seconds on the clock, Purdue inbounded the ball with some wide open players down the court. It looked like the Stanford band though, as the Michigan State bench came onto the floor. If MSU called a timeout, then I understand but they gave the timeout back to Izzo later. How on Earth do you not call something on that, as Purdue had the clear advantage down the court? The next gripe is when a ball hit the fingertips of Mady Sissoko and went out of bounds. Zach Edey’s fingers were also right there but the call on the court was Purdue ball. After several minutes of review, (which clearly means there’s no indisputable evidence to overturn the call) the refs called a jump ball, favoring Purdue. Again, how do you make that call? You either call the ball out on Sissoko (Edey didn’t touch the ball anyway) or you maintain the call on the floor. Just an awful performance by the zebra’s today.
Today, both teams wore shirts to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his mission to bring equal opportunities to everyone in our nation. Matt Painter and Tom Izzo are usually two of the more vocal Big Ten coaches on social issues, so it’s always nice to see important messages shown by them, as there is no bigger stage and outreach in college basketball.
With @MSU_Basketball, we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., wearing @nikebasketball MLK Jr., warm-up shirts.— Purdue Men's Basketball (@BoilerBall) January 16, 2023
Principles that we should emulate every day. pic.twitter.com/R61kaeUDS9
Next up for Purdue is a Thursday matchup with the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis. Purdue will look to improve it’s Big Ten best 6-1 record in conference play against the worst Big Ten record in Minnesota’s 1-4. Purdue took the first matchup against Minnesota 89-70 in Mackey back in early December. If Purdue takes this game, they will likely not face any more Q3 or Q4 teams for the rest of conference play, meaning a potential avoidance of a bad loss come Selection Sunday.