Purdue Basketball 2011
Purdue Boilermakers vs Michigan State Spartans Basketball Recap
Purdue 86, Michigan State 76
For the past four weeks or so, the drumbeat has been consistent: Tom Izzo will rally Michigan State and have the team ready by March. The second-best active coach in the United States – after Mike Krzyzewski at Duke – will get the Spartans to turn the corner. He’ll do it – just watch.
Well, the clock is ticking, and it’s becoming just a little harder to see how Michigan State is going to pull off the feat. On Saturday night at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana, the Purdue Boilermakers put to rest the notion that MSU is ready to rebound… or play defense, or win at the highest levels of college basketball competition.
In a dominating display that left Izzo muttering, coach Matt Painter’s Purdue crew eviscerated Sparty’s defense. The Boilermakers shot 58 percent from the floor and earned 30 foul shots in a comprehensive demolition of MSU before a national television audience. In a season when Purdue is playing without its foremost superstar, Robbie Hummel, it’s amazing to contemplate how good this team has become even without its best player.
Purdue’s offense was a harmonious symphony of movement, balance and fluidity on Saturday night. The three meal-ticket scorers from the Hummel-free Boilers all answered the call against Michigan State’s struggling squad, a team that’s now 4-3 in the Big Ten and nowhere near the top of the conference standings.
E’Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson, and Lewis Jackson are the three men Purdue looks to for offensive production, and against MSU, they all played at the top of their games. Moore led the troika with 26 points, but the biggest dimension of the three amigos’ performance was their all-around balance… not just in terms of points scored, but in the ways they affected the flow of this Big Ten battle. The three players all scored at least 19 points. They all hit at least six field goals and shot at least 50 percent from the floor. They all nailed at least five foul shots and put the Spartans in foul trouble. They all grabbed at least four rebounds. They combined for only three turnovers while playing extended minutes. They all contributed to a defensive effort that limited Michigan State to 44 percent shooting.
The Spartans obviously didn’t defend anywhere close to their typical standards; yet, with that having been said, the most worrisome reality to emerge from this contest for Michigan State is that its senior point guard is stuck in the muck. Kalin Lucas, the floor leader for this team and a veteran of the college basketball wars, has simply endured a terrible season, and it continued on Saturday. Lucas went 3 for 16 from the field in yet another subpar performance. Izzo’s number one challenge will be to get Lucas right before March. If he does, perhaps Michigan State will rally.
As for Purdue, there aren’t many concerns coming from the Boilermakers’ camp. Not now – not after Saturday night’s convincing victory.
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