During the first half the Michigan State Spartans came out energized. The Spartans played as a unit, and were quick and consistent on defense. Something important coming into this game was defending Purdue’s outside shots, and MSU came out executing that from the start.
Aaron Henry, Rocket Watts, Joshua Langford, and Joey Hauser stood out to me at first as finding their rhythm fast and looking comfortable.
Marcus Bingham Jr. made a few appearances on the court while Purdue’s Trevion Williams got himself into foul trouble. A few blocks and some hyped up energy added to the fun of the first half.
MSU did a lot of things right. The Spartans’ defense was impressive and the team was more cohesive in their decision-making on offense.
The score after one half of play was Michigan State 31, Purdue 16.
When the second half began I felt the team would keep the same energy and at first it did.
The Spartans lost themselves with about 15 minutes left in the game with sloppy passes, miscommunications, a few travel calls, and lack of energy and hunger to finish the game out on top.
Ok ok ok ok ok come on guys I’m getting some anxiety pic.twitter.com/44pCyWoJ01— The Only Colors (@TheOnlyColors) January 9, 2021
The complete end of the game was a battle that never needed to happen. The Spartans cracked the door for the Boilermakers and Purdue slammed it wide open.
For the last few minutes free throws, kept MSU alive, but barely. In the last seconds everything went wrong. With some questionable possession arrows, Purdue got to keep the ball for crucial moments, and in the end that paid off. Aaron Henry was unable to connect for the game-winner and the buzzer rang with the final score MSU 54 Purdue 55.
Final score: Purdue 55, Michigan State 54. pic.twitter.com/KWDKEn9bQh— The Only Colors (@TheOnlyColors) January 9, 2021
During the postgame press conference Josh Langford, Coach Tom Izzo, and Aaron Henry came for questions.
To start with Josh, he mentioned a lot that he wanted to look at all the film to analyze everything that happened, but he spoke on a few things he thought applied best after Michigan State’s loss.
“I feel like we got good looks for the most part, the shots just didn’t go in,” Langford said.
He brought up MSU’s defensive plan and the fact that they executed that well in regard to stopping Purdue’s three-point shot.
“They fought till the end, that’s what we have to expect in the Big Ten,” Langford said. “Every night is going to be a fight for 40 minutes,” Langford added when discussing Purdue and the whole conference.
Next came Coach Tom Izzo with an opening statement first.
“Give Purdue credit, they did the things they needed to do in the second half,” Izzo said. “The turnovers, we had 10 of them in the second half and that really hurt. Never got into a rhythm. Our defense was phenomenal, hold a team to 33 percent and 12 from the three and lose. We didn't rebound it very well.”
On a bit of a different note, Izzo was asked to describe their pregame circle around half court with all of the Purdue team in a stance of solidarity. He provided some insight into what led up to that decision.
“I talked to my team, I made the decision, I just said maybe a bunch of 20-year-olds can teach a bunch of adults that two teams, and I talked to Matt (Painter) about it, that have gone head to head for 30 years, that I’ve been here, that hate each other during the game, but respect each other could do that,” Izzo said. “Let’s go out there and show the old people that these young people need role models.”
He summed it up by saying “Tonight I thought both teams did what’s best for college basketball.”
MSU and Purdue joined in the center of the court in solidarity pic.twitter.com/UQKV6dm90z— The Only Colors (@TheOnlyColors) January 9, 2021
Aaron Henry was last up and discussed the end of the game and what moving forward would look like for him and the team as a whole.
“I think in those last 20 seconds they made the effort plays,” Henry said. “A couple things went their way. I missed a free throw before that, I missed that floater at the end. It’s just winning time, and we gotta grow from it. Watch the film, understand it.”
When discussing the next steps he had this to say, “Tomorrow go back to work, for the next team. Tough loss, it is what it is, you gotta face the facts, grow from it and continue to get better.”
Overall it was a disheartening loss, and I hope the team can learn from it and grow from it.
As always, Go Green!