Spartans get past Boilermakers

When MSU and Purdue met for the third time this season in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament on Friday it was expected to be a battle of two great defensive teams. But it was impossible to predict how the game would transpire. The No. 5 seeded Spartans (19-11) defeated the No. 4 seeded Boilermakers (18-10) 54-42, in a game that showcased one of the worst shooting halves of all Big Ten tournament games.

When MSU and Purdue met for the third time this season in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament on Friday it was expected to be a battle of two great defensive teams.

But it was impossible to predict how the game would transpire.

The No. 5 seeded Spartans (19-11) defeated the No. 4 seeded Boilermakers (18-10) 54-42, in a game that showcased one of the worst shooting halves of all Big Ten tournament games.

The first half was the equivalent to a contest before the invention of the shot clock, with MSU doubling up the Boilermakers 24-12 after the first 20 minutes.

The 12 points was lowest offensive output for a Purdue team in nearly 50 years. The Boilermakers also shot 25 percent from the field, while committing more turnovers, 16, than points in the first half.

In the second half, the Boilermakers (18-10) equaled their first half output within the first five minutes of the second half to make it a respectable game. But once again the wheels can off truck.

Purdue, which was ranked third in the Big Ten in scoring offense with 73 points per game, scored just 18 points the rest of the way.

The Spartans, who became the first No. 5 seed to win a game in the Big Ten tournament, didn't play much better in the first half, but were able to make some key runs in the second half to secure the win.

With a little more than nine minutes remaining, freshman guard Maurice Ager and sophomore guard Chris Hill made back-to-back NBA-range 3-point shots to pull ahead 42-31.

Freshman forward Erazem Lorbek also knocked down some big shots to give the Spartans some breathing room. Lorbek and Ager scored 10 and nine points, respectively to lead the Spartans to the victory. Guard Willie Deane led the Boilermakers with 16 points.

The Spartans will take on the Ohio State Buckeyes tomorrow afternoon in a semifinal showdown. The Buckeyes (16-13) upset the No. 1 seed Wisconsin Badgers 58-50 earlier Friday. Game time is set for 1:40 p.m. EST.


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