The Journal Gazette
Monday, January 13, 2020 1:00 am

Purdue 71, Michigan State 42

Boilers smash Spartans

Set tone early in rout of nation's No. 8 team

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

WEST LAFAYETTE – Tom Izzo has been the head coach at Michigan State since 1995. On Sunday at Mackey Arena, his Spartans took what he called “probably the worst beating” of his career.

Trevion Williams scored 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished four assists, the Boilermakers forced 18 turnovers and demolished the No. 8 Spartans 71-42 in front of an announced sellout crowd of 14,804. 

“If you look at a couple of those stats,” Izzo said, “the game should have been just what it was: a butt-kicking.”

Nearly every stat pointed Purdue's direction. The Boilermakers (10-7, 3-3 Big Ten) turned the ball over just six times and held a 21-8 advantage in points off giveaways. They held the Spartans (13-4, 5-1), who had won eight in a row, to just 35% shooting and a 2-for-16 performance on 3-pointers. Michigan State came in as the No. 2 rebounding team in the country, but were outrebounded by Purdue 34-32, and the home team had a 14-6 advantage in second-chance points.

Perhaps most importantly, the Boilermakers scored the game's first points 34 seconds in and led the rest of the way.

Purdue led by as many as 22 in the first half and were up 37-20 at halftime. Michigan State closed to within 47-36 with 9:59 remaining and seemed to be on the verge of a big comeback, but the Boilermakers responded with a 17-2 run to seal the victory.

Williams hit two free throws to kick-start the spurt, and Nojel Eastern pushed the margin back to 20 with a high-arcing floater in the lane plus a foul. Williams put the game away for good with two strong moves down low for baskets to make it 62-38.

Williams, who went to high school in Dearborn, Michigan, averaged 26 points in two games against Michigan and Michigan State the past week.

“Just to come out and get a win like that, it means a lot to me,” Williams said. “But most importantly for our team, it's a tone-setter from here on out.”

In the 2019 matchup against Michigan State at Mackey, the Boilers were up by a nearly identical 37-19 halftime score, but the Spartans cut the deficit to four in the second half before Purdue won. Boilers coach Matt Painter praised the Spartans' ability to erase large deficits in recent seasons and said he avoided talking about last year's game at halftime.

“We didn't allow (a comeback),” Painter said. “I don't know if we didn't allow it last year, there's two teams out there competing, the other team's pretty good. We were just trying to keep them down, keep them out of the paint and not beat ourselves.”

Purdue got a big game from forward Evan Boudreaux, who scored 11 points and made three 3-pointers. Coming into game, the Dartmouth transfer was 1 for 13 from 3-point range this season.

During a crucial stretch in the second half, Boudreaux drew two charges in 30 seconds and grabbed a rebound despite a foul a minute later.

“We want to be the hardest-playing team in the country,” Boudreaux said. “I think you saw it all night. It wasn't just me, everyone was diving on balls, grabbing the 50-50s and I think that ultimately wound up being a huge factor.”

Purdue's Eric Hunter Jr. had 10 points and three assists and played superb defense on Cassius Winston, last season's Big Ten Player of the Year. Winston, who had averaged 29.5 points in his last two games, had just 10 on 4-for-13 shooting and committed nine turnovers. 

As a team, the Spartans had their lowest point total since Jan. 31, 2012, when they lost to Illinois 42-41.

The Boilermakers have now won five of their last six home games against top-10 opponents. In Big Ten conference play this season, home teams are 31-5 as of Sunday.

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