Men's basketball beats No. 3 Purdue thanks to Bridges' game-winning shot
Saturday seemed like a game the Spartans were destined to win.
Between a memorial for former MSU basketball coach Jud Heathcote — who led the Spartans to the 1979 National Championship as part of a 19-year career in East Lansing, but died last August — and a recruiting visit from standout recruit Vernon Carey Jr., a nearly sold out crowd of 14,797 at the Breslin Center erupted on a game-winning 3-pointer from forward Miles Bridges.
Bridges stole the show with 20 points as the fourth-ranked Spartans out-dueled No. 3 Purdue 68-65 for the team’s eighth-straight win. The win gives MSU (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) a second place tie with the Boilermakers (23-4, 12-2) in conference standings.
“(Purdue guard Dakota Mathias) gave me a little space, and I was going to drive to the hole, but as soon as I saw him back off, I was like ‘I’ve got to shoot this,’ and when it went in, I was happy,” Bridges said.
Point guard Cassius Winston was the only other Spartan to finish with double figures, with 10 points and a game-high 10 assists. Forward Nick Ward and guard Joshua Langford each scored six, and forward Jaren Jackson scored two. Shooting guard Matt McQuaid scored nine off the bench.
“Well, to say it was an emotional day would be the understatement of the world,” MSU coach Tom Izzo said. “When you look at how hard and physical that game was played. Our fans were the difference.”
Purdue center Isaac Haas led all scorers with 25. Guard Carsen Edwards followed Haas 14 points.The rest of Purdue’s nine man rotation combined for 26 points.
The loss marks the first two-game losing streak in Big Ten play for the Boilermakers since 2014-15. Purdue lost 64-63 to No. 14 Ohio State, who leads the conference standings, on Wednesday at home.
“That’s part of basketball and competition,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “It’s a fine line between winning and losing. We’ve won a lot of games this year in possession-type games, now we’ve lost a couple. You’ve got to learn from it. That’s the main thing. If you can be better because of it down the road into March, that can help.”
MSU began shooting 1-of-8 from the field, which allowed Purdue to get out to a 9-2 lead with 16:00 remaining in the first half. The Spartans never led in the first half, but they cut Purdue’s lead to as little as one after an 8-0 run, topped by back-to-back scores from forward Gavin Schilling with 4:40 till halftime, made it 25-24. The Boilermakers were limited to 3-of-12 shooting in that stretch, but entered halftime leading 36-31.
Schilling, who finished with seven points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench, played in place of Ward, who was limited to 11 minutes because of foul trouble.
With both Jackson and Ward benched with three fouls each with 12:41 to play, the Spartans trailed 53-51 after Matt McQuaid hit a 3-pointer from the left wing. Purdue answered with a layup from Carsen Edwards, but a 6-0 run from MSU, led with two scores from Bridges gave MSU a 57-55 lead, its first lead of the game with 8:58 to play.
The Spartans built their lead to four before Haas tied the game at 59-all with 5:24 left. With 2:03 remaining, Jackson spun past two defenders to lay up his first basket of the game, giving MSU a 63-61 lead.
After back-to-back scores Haas was denied his third straight score to give Purdue a four-point lead. Forward Kenny Goins tied the game for MSU at 65 with 46.7 seconds left. A 3-pointer the right wing by Bridges with 2.7 seconds left sealed the win. Purdue was unable to respond. The triple was Bridges’ second of the game.
“You got to win games,” Winston said. “It’s not going to be pretty. That’s a good basketball team. They’re ranked (number) three for a reason. You can tell, they hit big shots, they made big plays, but we came down with a key stop, a key rebound, a key basket. We learned how to win games.”
With three of the next four on the road, the Spartans are off until Tuesday when they take to the road to play Minnesota (14-13, 3-10). The Golden Gophers have lost their last seven. That game tips off at 9 p.m.
“It’s big for us, big for the program, big for coach Izzo.” Bridges said. “It gives us a lot of confidence going into road games coming up.”