Purdue’s Stars Shine, Lucas Shoots Miserably in Loss

Purdue shot a scorching 58% from the field as they handed Michigan State their seventh loss of the season Saturday night.  E’Twuan Moore scored 26 points, and JaJuan Johnson poured in 20 for the Boilermakers.  Yes, Purdue’s stars played great games.  However, the difference in this game was Lewis Jackson.  The 5’8″ point guard scored 19 points and made life miserable for Kalin Lucas on the defensive end.

First off, lets revisit the keys that I mentioned in the preview:

1) LIMIT PURDUE’S STARS

Not good.  I said that State needed to limit Moore and Johnson to 30-35 points combined.  Those two almost had 30 by halftime.  They finished with 46 points combined, and shot over 50% from the field.

Johnson hit many difficult shots.  The defense on him was not terrible, but he displayed the depth of his offensive arsenal, hitting fade-away jumpers, and getting tough points in the paint.  MSU did not have anyone tall enough to disrupt his jump shot, or challenge him in the paint.  He also was great at the free-throw line, hitting six of his seven attempts.  Johnson is one of the three or four best big men in the country, and showed it Saturday night.

The defense on Moore was not as good.  Durrell Summers is not a good perimeter defender, and was clearly over-matched in this tilt.  Moore hit 9 of his 18 attempts, and was three of six from behind the arc.  He also hit difficult shots, but the defense on him needed to be much better.

2) POUND THE OFFENSIVE GLASS

State was very good in this regard, and it kept them in the game.  They grabbed 14 offensive boards.  Draymond Green and Delvon Roe were very active on the glass.  Without their strong effort, this game would have been much uglier.

3) DON’T SETTLE FOR JUMP SHOTS

MSU took 20 three pointers in this game, which is still far too many, in my opinion.  However, they hit 10 of them, so it’s hard to complain about it.  They completely failed at taking the ball to Johnson and getting him in foul trouble.  They only forced him to get two fouls.  Teams that rely heavily on three pointers typically do not make deep tournament runs.  Eventually, they will encounter a team that defends the perimeter very well, or they will have a cold night shooting. Plus, this is not a great shooting team in the first place.  They are in the middle of the pack in the Big 10 in three-point percentage.  State still needs to find a way to get more offense around the basket. MSU shot only 13 free-throws in this game, while the Boilermakers shot 30.  That tells you all you need to know about which team was more aggressive.

4) PLAY WITH POISE

11 turnovers is not terrible.  State also was decent on free-throws, converting 10 of their 13 attempts.  However, the hustle was not where it needed to be.  Purdue consistently came up with loose balls, and baited MSU in mental mistakes.  The guards were shaky while dealing with the high pressure of Purdue.

THE POSITIVES

1) The Forwards

Delvon Roe and Draymond Green were fantastic.  Green once again stuffed the stat sheet with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists.  He hit four of his six three-pointers, and grabbed four offensive rebounds.  Roe chipped in 16 points and played solid defense.  These guys have been MSU’s two best players in conference play, and will continue to be huge parts of this teams success going forward.

2) Three-Point Shooting

They relied on it too much, but hit fifty percent of them.  The ball-movement was good at times, and helped create a lot of good looks from beyond the arc.

THE NEGATIVES

1) Defense

Purdue shot 58% from the field.  They hit tough shots, but State’s defense was nowhere near where it needed to be to win this game.  The Boilermaker’s guards were able to get consistent penetration, and beat MSU’s defenders off the dribble.  Keith Appling got in to early foul trouble, which hurt the Spartans immensely in this facet of the game.  The biggest disappointment was how they allowed Lewis Jackson to go off for 19 points.

2) Kalin Lucas

It is clear Kalin was set back heavily by his ankle injury.  Jackson locked him up, and Lucas shot a miserable 3-16 from the field.  The former Big 10 Player of the Year was expected to be MSU’s leader and biggest offensive weapon this year.  He still has time to make strides before the tournament, but needs to regain some of his explosiveness for this team to be a serious threat in March.

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