West Lafayette, IN
The #8 Michigan State Spartans came into Mackey Arena here in West Lafayette, Indiana playing their best basketball off the season. Ridning a four game winning streak, they started slow and couldn’t finish after a valiant comeback. They lost to #16 Purdue 82-81 in overtime while garnering a 20-5 (7-5) record.
The Spartans were down as many as 18 and that was in the second half before roaring back, and in the end they beat themselves more than the Boilermakers did while snapping their four game winning streak. I Tweeted out in the second half that, “If MSU loses this game it will be because of missed dunks and layups.”
Izzo agreed saying afterward that, “I am disappointed, proud. When you go through a game when you start like we did, they just outplayed us in the first half. We did not execute very well and we missed shots. But when you miss three dunks and you lose by a point it is hard to stomach. For the third time probably in my career I opted not to take a timeout at the end and shame on me because we did not get a good shot. You can’t get a fall away shot into the bleachers shot in that situation and we did. I take full responsibility for that. We can’t rely on Denzel for everything. The other thing they hurt us on was our missed dunks. Really that was the difference in the game. A lot of points scored…we played hard just didn’t play as smart down the stretch. We are still not in sync, but it is the middle of February and we will be around.”
Purdue head coach Matt Painter said of the tilt when I asked him if it had an old school Big Ten feel that, “Michigan State is obviously a great program. We haven’t beaten them in a long time. So to just find a way somehow. It is a fine line when you win by one point. It could have gone either way. We were fortunate to get that win. You know they weren’t going to go anywhere.”
Denzel Valentine was exhausted as the game came down the stretch. He played 42 of 45 minutes while getting 27 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Izzo admitted that his star was worn out. “We are playing him into the ground.”
Painter praised Valentine saying, “Man has he gotten better. He has worked on his game and he has gotten better and we just didn’t want him to be a part of this game. But them Valentine almost gets a triple double so that is a helluva a theory. He still had to shoot 23 times to get 27 points. We wanted to work him, to grind him. The more he played the point, the more we wanted to work him. I didn’t know if that would have had an effect on him at the end of the game or not. He made an unbelievable drive to tie that game up. He took on three people and spins the ball backwards. An unbelievable shot and has played himself into a NBA player.”
Elaborating on the game Izzo added that, “All in all it was a helluva a basketball game. We didn’t deserve to be 18 down because I thought we had enough shot and layups and dunks in there, but I thought Purdue outplayed us and hit all of their shots. They made the plays down the stretch and tonight the better team won. I can accept that and can also look on some bright spots. My team battled back and took the lead, had a four or five point lead, whatever it was and things just didn’t go our way. It’s my fault, I am the head coach.”
MSU shot 38% from the field and 39% from three. The Boilers won the battle on the boards 42-39 and also led in turnovers 16-9. Joining Valentine in double digit scoring was Matt Costello who had 11 points and five rebounds and Matt McQuaid who poured in 10.
The Spartans return to action on Sunday afternoon against the Indiana Hoosiers. That game tips off at 1PM and can be seen on CBS.