Posted on February 17, 2021
Michigan State basketball tumble continues in 75-65 loss to Purdue; NCAAs look like a dream
Tom Izzo struggled with rotations and couldn’t find answers for Purdue’s Trevion Williams, as the Boilermakers pulled away late for a 75-65 victory at Mackey Arena.
MSU (10-9, 4-9 Big Ten) has lost six of eight and heads to Indiana on Saturday with seven regular-season games remaining.
Michigan State Spartans center Mady Sissoko attempts to block a shot by Purdue Boilermakers forward Trevion Williams during the first half at Mackey Arena, Feb. 16, 2021 in West Lafayette, Ind.
Aaron Henry had 15 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Spartans. Joey Hauser added 11 points but committed six turnovers, including three egregious ones in the final three minutes when MSU was trying to rally. Julius Marble added 10 points.
Purdue (14-8, 9-6) earned the season sweep after beating the Spartans, 55-54, on Jan. 8 at Breslin Center. It was MSU’s fifth straight loss at Mackey Arena, dating to 2014.
Williams, a junior center, continued to own the Spartans, finishing with 28 points and six rebounds. Eric Hunter Jr. scored 15 points and Jaden Ivey 11 for Purdue.
Purdue dominated the Spartans around the basket en route to a 30-27 halftime lead. All but two of those came in the paint, with the other two coming on free throws after fouls in the paint. The Boilermakers finished with a 48-24 scoring advantage in the paint.
Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo talks with a referee during the first half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena, Feb. 16, 2021 in West Lafayette, Ind.
MSU continued its three-year struggle with Williams. The former Detroit Henry Ford Academy star had 12 points and four rebounds at halftime despite battling foul trouble.
The Spartans’ offense in the first half looked discombobulated for long stretches. Passes to players who weren’t ready, rushed shots missing the rim, little traction in the paint.
Williams continued his dominance in the second half, particularly against MSU’s Thomas Kithier. The Purdue star scored 15 on 7 of 12 shooting after the break.
Freshman Mady Sissoko and Marble provided MSU with vital answers for Williams in the paint.
Sissoko’s two layups, one a three-point play, and hustle on the boards helped keep the Spartans close early. He had five points and four rebounds in 7 minutes, and Hauser hit a pair of 3-pointers that helped MSU to a few brief one-point leads late in the opening half.
After the break, Joshua Langford and Marble helped MSU reclaim the lead. The senior shooting guard scored five in a row, and the sophomore big man’s three-point play tied the game at 39. Hauser’s third 3-pointer gave MSU another brief lead after that.
Marble scored 10 of 13 MSU points in one stretch in the middle of the half, including a pair of hard-driving layups on which he got fouled and converted the free throw. When he went to the bench, the Spartans down two after his layup, Kithier replaced him. Purdue went on a quick 8-3 run, including a pair of 3s off assists from Williams.
Izzo didn’t go back to Marble until 3:42 remained. After Kithier was whistled for a Flagrant-1 foul on Williams after getting burned for layups on two previous possessions. It was too late, and Marble’s rhythm vanished when he re-entered the game. Sissoko did not play in the second half.