Michigan State played like one of the nation's best teams should, pounding Purdue to the tune of a 94-79 score. On a stormy night in West Lafayette, the Spartans had it raining threes in Mackey Arena, connecting on 13 long balls in the first half. They would break a school record with 17 on the contest.
"Some of those stats were mind-boggling," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.
This was the same Michigan State team which posted just 51 points in a home loss to Nebraska. On Thursday, it was two points shy of that mark at halftime. Everything was going right for the Spartans.
"We played them on the wrong day," joked Purdue coach Matt Painter. "We should've played them last Sunday. We wish the Big Ten could've scheduled it on Sunday, and have Nebraska play them tonight."
Purdue was lucky to be down just 11 in the locker room for halftime. It would only get worse.
From start to finish, Michigan State was the better team. Tom Izzo's group executed its game plan well, seeing success with ball screens to set up the open three-point looks. In the second half, the Spartans attacked the interior and bruised around the Boilermaker bigs.
The deficit wasn't for a lack of effort from the Boilermakers, who kept battling until the end. It was just too much Michigan State.
"It was very frustrating," said sophomore point guard Ronnie Johnson. "We kept fighting, kept fighting, but they'd come down and make some tough shots, just break us down defensively."
The Boilermakers were haunted by an old nemesis, as Gary Harris—the son of two Purdue graduates, the one who got away from Matt Painter—posted a game-high 25 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including six three-pointers.
Going into the game, Purdue felt it was ready to contain him. It just never came together.
"He's a player," Rapheal Davis, the sophomore guard, said. "We've got to stick with somebody like that."
Down 11 points with nine minutes left, Purdue still had a prayer. But this is where the game got away. Kenny Kaminski fired up a rare Michigan State miss, but forward Matt Costello pushed aside A.J. Hammons for the offensive board. He fired out to an open Harris who connected for three. The Spartans rolled from there.
"It's frustrating," said freshman guard Kendall Stephens, who posted a career-best 19 points. "You can't trade baskets with anyone in the Big Ten, especially Michigan State.
"Trying to out-shoot them is a no-win game."
Such was the case on a rainy night in West Lafayette where the Spartans poured down shots in buckets.