MSU men's basketball exploited in Bridges' historic night
Freshman forward Miles Bridges set the record for most points by a freshman in a single game in MSU men’s basketball history. To his misfortune, it was not enough to defeat the No. 20 Purdue Boilermakers (17-4, 6-2 Big Ten) making it three straight losses for MSU (12-9, 4-4 Big Ten).
Battling Purdue for 17 first-half points, Bridges used his gentle touch from 3-point territory to build a lead for much of the first half. In the second half, Bridges kept the same touch, scoring 16 points, marking a career-high 33 points on 12-for-17 shooting, 5-for-8 from beyond the arc.
This 33-point outing surpassed former NBA player and former Orlando Magic head coach Scott Skiles, who originally held the record with 32 points. Skiles currently holds the record for most assists in a single game in the NBA with 30 assists made on Dec. 30, 1990. Skiles’ career at MSU lasted from 1982-1986 and earned the right for his name and number to hang in the rafters.
Bridges’ most emphatic basket was when he beamed toward the basket from the 3-point line, caught flight and his right arm found a missed shot that was turned from an offensive rebound to a jaw-dropping dunk and eruption from the Izzone.
Purdue’s head coach Matt Painter said the focus out of the half was finding ways to stop Bridges.
“He is a good player,” Painter said. “You put him at the four and that puts people in binds because he is so athletic and he can drive and shoot threes. Tonight, he really got his 3-point shooting going.”
With a player humming like Bridges was, Painter said people could only tip their hats to his performance.
Despite the historic night, head coach Tom Izzo said Bridges wasn’t happy about his overall performance, largely because MSU still lost because of its inability to match up against the much larger Boilermakers.
“The team means way more to me than single game achievements,” Bridges said. “I would rather win a national championship than just Player of the Year.”
Sophomore forward Caleb Swanigan used his 6-foot-9 frame and 250 pounds to bruise the revolving door of defenders MSU threw at him. While MSU was able to sting him with seven turnovers, Swanigan terrorized MSU from up close and on the offensive boards.
Swanigan’s night ended with another double-double, his nation-leading No. 17 this season, comprising of 25 points on 8-for-13 shooting and 17 rebounds, six on the offensive glass.
“I thought he was good,” Painter said. “He is getting better all the time. He goes after every rebound. He showed a lot of poise, and he showed a lot of maturity for a young guy and really played well.”
Though Swanigan is bigger than the rest of the MSU team, he is still dwarfed by the 7-foot-2 Isaac Haas. Though Haas only took four shots, he made three of them and converted on 5-for-6 free throws. His 11 points combined with Purdue’s other big men, Vincent Edwards and Swanigan, scored a total of 46 points. MSU’s big men scored a combined 11 points.
“We went against two of the best big men in the country,” Izzo said. “We really did. It’s hard to cover both of them. And then you come in with a four man who can shoot and so you’re always mixing coverages.”
Swanigan’s ability to rebound the ball gave Purdue a plus-13 rebounding margin, where Purdue had 36 rebounds, 11 offensive. MSU grabbed a mere four offensive rebounds.
The two-headed tandem of Haas and Swanigan was fouled continuously to try and slow them down. Redshirt-sophomore forward Kenny Goins fouled out, freshman forward Nick Ward had four and senior forward Matt Van Dyk had three.
Van Dyk said the matchup was not ideal, however the 13 Purdue turnovers all came from the bigs.
“Matt Van Dyk is one of the toughest dudes I have met in my life going against a 7-foot-2 dude, getting a steal against him, making him miss shots,” Bridges said.
Goins took a shot to the nose in the game, which was found to be broken after the game. The last time Goins wore a mask, he played a 13-rebound performance against Louisville last season.
MSU will face the University of Michigan at 1 p.m. Sunday. The game will be televised on CBS Sports.