The lone Big Ten game on Friday night was an intriguing matchup between Michigan State and Purdue in East Lansing. Both teams had a lot riding on the outcome and things ended up going down to the final seconds.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Purdue Boilermakers 55, No. 23 Michigan State Spartans 54
Over the last decade, few programs have been as consistently good as Michigan State and Purdue. The two teams have won multiple Big Ten regular season championships, achieved some major things in March, and put a litany of players into the pros. However, both have gotten off to underwhelming starts this year and entered Friday’s game with some pressure. Both needed a win to get on the right track in a game that projected as a tossup.
Early on, Michigan State came out of the gates firing. The Spartans took a solid lead out of the first half and got some great production from players like Aaron Henry and Joshua Langford. It seemed like Michigan State and Tom Izzo had found a way to bounce back and would grab a valuable win at home. Instead, Purdue came back in roaring fashion in the second half and narrowly stole the game in the closing seconds.
This is obviously a big win for Purdue. The team had lost three of four heading into Friday and desperately needed some positive momentum. Trevion Williams came up big and pushed the Boilermakers to 8-5 overall and 3-3 in Big Ten play. This is the kind of win that will be really valuable by time we get to Selection Sunday.
For Michigan State, it’s hard to describe Friday’s loss as anything but crushing. The Spartans really needed this win, but came up short. While there are no “must wins” in January, this projected as one of Michigan State’s most winnable remaining games. Unfortunately, Michigan State will now have to move forward with a brutal slate ahead. For perspective, KenPom only favors the Spartans in three remaining games. It’s gonna be a rough ride.
Moving forward, Purdue will get most of this week off before facing arch-rival Indiana on the road on Thursday. Michigan State will also return to action on Thursday on the road against Iowa.