Stagnant Second Half Dooms Purdue Against Michigan State

Purdue was looking for its first win over a ranked opponent just two days after DJ Byrd was handed a one game suspension and Kelsey Barlow was permanently removed from the team. After twenty minutes of play, Purdue led the 8th ranked Spartans by three.

But things unraveled in the second half when Purdue went on an offensive dry spell making just 1 of 21 shots, including numerous missed layups. The result was a 76-62 home loss to Michigan State that leaves Purdue still empty handed when it comes to competing with ranked opponents.

The loss was disappointing, but Purdue showed a lot of fight against arguably the best Big Ten team. The Boilers certainly had opportunities, but missed layup after missed layup contributed to a period where Purdue couldn’t make a basket to save its life. Meanwhile, Michigan State played with composure in a hostile environment and was able to pull away.

During that dry spell, most Purdue fans were probably wondering whether DJ Byrd’s hot perimeter shooting would have snapped the Boilers out of their offensive funk and kept them on track to pulling an upset. Instead, the Boilers missed shot after shot and fell behind by as much as 16 points with 7 minutes to play.

For seniors Robbie Hummel, Lewis Jackson, and Ryne Smith, they combined for 49 of Purdue’s 62 points. Hummel had a terrific game with 24 points, 15 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 assists. Lewis Jackson slashed to the hoop for 15 points on 6-11 shooting while passing out 5 assists. Smith connected on 3 of 9 three point shots and had 10 points overall.

The veterans didn’t have enough for powerhouse Michigan State though, as the Spartans ruled the boards (+11 rebounding differential) and shot over 50% from the field. Draymond Green was especially impressive with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists. Branden Dawson played determined as ever, like his last meeting against Purdue, and he scored 15 points while snaring 11 boards. Sharp shooter Austin Thornton also contributed by connecting on 6-10 shots and scoring 17 points.

One bright spot: redshirt freshman Anthony Johnson narrowed the deficit at the end of the game by scoring 8 straight points. With Barlow permanently gone, players like Johnson will have to step up and replace the void left by his absence.

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