Spartans prepare for struggling Boilermakers

Fresh off a big win over Minnesota, Michigan State will try to stay undefeated in conference play at home on Saturday with a tough matchup with Purdue. SpartansInsider.com analyst Ryan Wallace previews the game!

(East Lansing) – Fresh off a big win over Minnesota, Michigan State will try to stay undefeated in conference play at home on Saturday with a tough matchup with Purdue.

MSU (15-11 overall, 7-6 Big Ten) hit 31-of-40 free throws to outlast the Golden Gophers and pick up the 71-61 win. The victory gave the Spartans a perfect 6-conference record at the Breslin Center.

The Boilermakers (17-8, 9-5) are coming off a 52-44 win over Penn State on Wednesday. The win broke a two-game losing streak, which sent Purdue tumbling out of the top spot in the Big Ten. With a win Purdue would remain just one-game in the loss column.

A big reason for the dip was the loss of junior leader Kenneth Lowe. Lowe dislocated his left shoulder in the first half of the Ohio State game last Saturday.

Purdue head coach Gene Keady called Lowe, "the inspirational leader of the team," and said he is tough to replace because of the loads of experience he has gained. Lowe is the Boilermakers second leading scorer at 11.8 points per game.

Without the presence of Lowe, that means his backcourt mate Willie Deane will need to continue to play at a high level. Deane has played his best basketball this season and has found his role as a pure scorer. Deane leads the team in scoring at 17.6 ppg and also pulls down 5.1 rebounds per game.

Against Penn State, Deane stepped up scoring 21 points and grabbing three boards.

Purdue's other weapon is Chris Booker. The 6-foot-11 center is the team's third leading scorer at just over 10 a game. In addition, he leads the team with 5.8 rpg and has 25 blocks on the year.

In the first matchup between these two teams saw Purdue get the better of MSU. The Boilermakers outhustled, outworked and outperformed the Spartans to pick up the 72-60 win in West Lafayette, Ind.

The Boilermakers held the Spartans to 32.3 shooting from the field and used a 19-2 first half run to pull away. The Spartans managed to cut the lead to two in the second half, before letting the deficit balloon to 10 late in the game.

Deane led Purdue with 18 points, followed by a big night from forward Brett Buscher, who poured in 12.

Freshman guard Maurice Ager was the only Spartan to crack double-digits, scoring 10 points.

The good news for the Spartans is that it seems sophomore forward Alan Anderson has found a way to play through pain and be MSU's floor leader. Anderson scored 18 points to lead the Spartans against Minnesota.

Some more good news is that MSU has won three straight against the Boilermakers in East Lansing and the Boilermakers are just 2-5 on the road in Big Ten play this season.

If there is some bad news, however, it's that Purdue is the only Big Ten team to one a winning record on the Spartans homecourt.

Tip off is set for 2:34 p.m. on Saturday.


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