When Michigan State stepped on the court, they were focused, and they remained focused for the entire 40 minutes. In a game the Spartans were expected to lose, they came out and derailed the Purdue Boilermakers 74-56.
Kalin Lucas played like the player everyone expected him to be at the beginning of the season. Lucas went 8-of-15 from the field and 4-of-6 from three-point land, amassing 30 points.
After the game, Purdue head coach Matt Painter said, "Kalin Lucas was just special." That pretty much sums up his game in a nutshell.
The Boilermakers didn't come out focused and had trouble finding any offensive rhythm, especially in the first half.
JaJuan Johnson remained Purdue's backbone, scoring 21 points and nine rebounds, but even he seemed to not be all the way into the game.
Another key aspect bothering the Boilermakers as of late is three-point shooting. Today, Purdue went 3-of-16 from beyond the arc, continuing their long-distance shooting woes from the Iowa game, where they shot 5-of-25.
Painter said, "We are more efficient when we take less threes."
He can say that again.
Patience was another problem that facing the Boilermakers. It seemed as though they were forcing shots and not getting good looks, which is very unlike a Boilermakers team. Purdue was driving rather than passing, and that caused numerous problems.
Give credit to MSU, though: they did exactly what they planned to do to Purdue.
Last night, following the MSU victory over Iowa, Draymond Green said when asked about the Purdue game:
"One of the key things tomorrow will be containing their role players. JaJuan Johnson is a great player, he's going to do what he do, and E'Twaun Moore is going to do what he do but it's not letting Lewis Jackson get 17 points."
Michigan State did just that, limiting Purdue's lineup minus Johnson and Moore to only 18 points.
One positive to come out of today's game for the Boilermakers was Kelsey Barlow.
Barlow played like a rabid animal looking for prey on defense in the second half. He really stepped up and caused problems for the Spartans.
For Purdue's sake, let's hope they use these last two losses as a learning experience to mesh and grow as a team.
A lot of Boilermakers fans will be negative and of course the analysts will doubt, but Purdue thrives in the underdog role.
This team is not done yet. Two losses is not the end of the world.
These losses could be those "good" losses coaches always talk about. Expect to see the Boilermakers make a run in the tournament even after these tough defeats.
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