You could call that game a lot of things: defensive, sloppy, persevering, downright disgusting.
Whatever you title it, it was a March postseason win.
Yes, MSU fell victim to a 14-6 run in early point of the second half.
And if you want to pick it apart, there is that final 10:27 where Maryland couldn’t hit a field goal -- save for a layup with 17 seconds left -- and this was STILL just a three-point final.
There were mental errors. There was some flat out embarrassingly cold moments for the offense.
Yet, here we are. The perfect scenario -- perhaps better than the other perfect scenario of playing your archrival in the conference championship -- of meeting a Purdue team that burned you in an overtime heartbreaker a month ago.
The Spartans will have to play much more sound if it will take that strange silver basketball hardware back to East Lansing on Sunday night. Everyone knows it.
Eron Harris looked lost at times. Bryn Forbes was a non-factor. Matt Costello tried doing way too much late. Denzel Valentine got his (18 points, 10 assists), but it was another lackluster shooting effort (4-of-12) and a lot of free throws (8-of-9).
Everyone has to be better. And sure, in a strange twist for this team, MSU didn’t close it out as much as it was backed into a corner with time running out.
Breathe. It’s March. If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years, it’s that you’re going to have one or two of these ugly wins in the postseason -- even if they’re not do-or-die just yet.