Thursday, February 2, 2023

FINAL: Michigan State men's basketball falls short of comeback, suffers one point loss to No. 3 Purdue

January 16, 2023
<p>Junior guard AJ Hoggard (11) tries to get past Purdue University player during a game at Breslin Center on Jan. 16, 2023. The Spartans fell to the Boilermakers with a score of 64-63. </p>

Junior guard AJ Hoggard (11) tries to get past Purdue University player during a game at Breslin Center on Jan. 16, 2023. The Spartans fell to the Boilermakers with a score of 64-63.

Photo by Audrey Richardson | The State News

After dropping the game to Illinois 75-66 on the road  Friday night, Michigan State men’s basketball returned to the Breslin Center on Monday afternoon for their most grueling conference game yet.

The green and white remained neck and neck with the Boilermakers throughout the game, ultimately dropping the game to Purdue 64-63 in the final seconds.

Head Men's Basketball Coach Tom Izzo said that senior forward Malik Hall would be out against Purdue during his pregame radio show, and will likely sit out for a while after tweaking his previously injured ankle against Illinois. 

Because of Hall’s versatility, it was clear that his absence would be damaging to the lineup and MSU’s schedule as Big Ten play begins to heat up. 

After failing to sink a three against Illinois, graduate student forward Joey Hauser drilled one early on, putting the Spartans ahead of their opponent in the first few minutes of play. 

Senior guard Tyson Walker led the Spartans with 30 points, followed by junior guard A.J. Hoggard with 14. Walker is the first Spartan to notch 30 plus points since former Spartan Cassius Winston against Michigan on Jan. 5 2020.

Purdue had a hot start off the glass with help from junior center Zach Edey. Midway through the first half, Edey had picked up six of Purdue’s 11 rebounds, compared to MSU’s total eight.

Junior center Mady Sissoko was ready for Edey after already going up against some of the best bigs in college hoops earlier in the season.

Sissoko and Edey went head-to-head on every possession. Freshman centers Jaxon Kohler and Carson Cooper both saw the floor for a few minutes in the first half, having their turn guarding the 7-foot-4 big.

Turnovers remained an obstacle for the green and white. MSU picked up eight by the end of the first compared to the Boilermakers’ five. It was expected that turnovers would be a concern against No. 3 Purdue, but eight was uncharacteristic. 

MSU's offense came alive in the final few minutes before halftime, with buckets from Hoggard, Walker, and Cooper. Walker drilled a three with 8.5 seconds left on the clock, lighting a fire under him and shortening the Boilermakers’ lead to two.

Despite attempts to tie it up in the final minutes of play, Michigan State left the half trailing Purdue, 27-25. 

After a feeble offensive performance a majority of the first half, MSU brought the momentum from halftime with them.MSU stole back the lead when Hoggard sank three just under two minutes into the second half.

Sissoko struggled to stay out of foul trouble, as he picked up his third foul midway through the second half and his fourth five minutes later. MSU's lack of experience at center continues to serve as a weak link for the Spartans, especially against a big like Edey. 

In the final four minutes, Walker heated up, setting a season-high after hitting back-to-back three's.

The Boilermakers followed suit, putting up five points to cut the Spartan lead to two. The next few minutes remained a back and forth affair, with Walker leading the charge.

Edey matched Walker's basket with two points of his own, putting the Boilermakers back on top, 64-63 with seconds to play. After continuous timeouts from both the Spartans and Boilermakers, Walker was unable to hit the final shot, and Michigan State fell to Purdue 64-63.

Michigan State will return to their home floor on Thursday night to host Rutgers. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m.

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