When the difference in shooting percentages is 31 percent, it's probably not a close game.
The first half was close, but MSU (16-4 overall, 5-2 Big Ten) blew past Purdue in the second half en route to a 83-58 win at Breslin Center, breaking a two-game losing streak and moving into a first-place tie in the Big Ten.
Because of weather issues, the Boilermakers (15-5, 4-3) had to bus to East Lansing in the wee hours of the morning. It had to have an effect. Purdue shot 18-for-62 (29 percent) on the day, mising a ton of open looks. The worst performance of the day came from Purdue's Robbie Hummel, who tied a career-low with two points and shot 0-for-11 from the field. It was the first time he failed to score a field goal.
The game started off really ugly, with bad shots and passes and turnovers. The first points didn't come until just under three minutes into the game.
But MSU settled down and led 31-24 at half. It should have been a bigger lead, as Purdue shot 25 percent (8-for-32) in the half and MSU shot 57 percent (12-for-21). The Boilermakers stuck around because of a 20-12 rebounding edge, including 12 offensive rebounds (four of which came on one possession).
MSU went on a 24-8 run to start the second half to pull away. Along with hitting shots, they picked up the rebounding. MSU grabbed 10 of the first 12 rebounds on the defense end in the second half, after taking just 11 of 23 in the first half. The final stats showed Purdue won the rebounding battle 34-33, but MSU controlled the second half.
The second half turned into a bit of a show, with Travis Trice and Branden Dawson putting together some highlights. There are some ties there, as Trice's father played for Purdue and Dawson nearly chose the Boilermakers over MSU. After a Purdue turnover, it appeared Dawson said something to coach Matt Painter while walking away. Painter snapped around and said something back. After the game, Dawson said he didn't say anything to Painter.
Dawson finished with a game-high 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting, and 12 of those points came in the second half. Trice got a needed confidence boost with five points and four assists in 16 minutes.
The depth on this MSU team is really starting to show. Four players scored in double-digits, and seven had at least eight points. The fast-break got going again too, as MSU scored 18 points on the break. Purdue had none.
One game after Austin Thornton was questioned for not taking an open shot at the end of the game, his confidence apparently remained high, as he took a team-high eight shots, making four and finishing with 11 points. He's starting to become a valuable player on both sides of the floor.
The triple-double watch for Draymond Green was on in the second half, but Green came out with the game getting out of hand. He finished with eight points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
Derrick Nix didn't come off the bench right away for being late to a team meeting, but had a strong game, scoring 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting.
Although Purdue's shooting was putrid, MSU's defense wasn't spectacular. The Boilermakers missed a ton of open looks. But when you shoot 60 percent on offense, you more than make up for it.
What a difference home court makes in the Big Ten. Since I wrote about the difficulty of winning in the road in the Big Ten, Illinois has lost at Penn State. Sandwiched around MSU's two road losses are two home wins by a combined 59 points. MSU still has three of the next four at home, and it will be important to hold serve there.
MSU has beaten Purdue two straight times by a combined 43 points after losing the two regular season games last season. Saturday's win also broke Purdue's two-game winning streak at Breslin.
With the game not being very close, it appears the biggest stories of the day were the talking. The talking between Dawson and Painter and the talking from the Izzone.
The Izzone was dead in the first half, drawing a lot of criticism, but picked things up in the second half maybe a little too much. Painter said some in the Izzone made comments about Hummel's recent ACL injuries, which did not make Painter happy.
Of all people to pick on, Hummel is the nicest guy on the floor, and one of the most-respected players in college basketball. Izzo didn't like hearing that. But that's something the old Izzone would do. And that's why MSU has tried to take a lot of the nastiness out of the Izzone (resulting in its current shape). But that's what happens with college kids. The Izzone clearly affected Purdue, and that's what they're supposed to do.
Speaking of the Izzone, Will Gholston and Bennie Fowler spent some time in the student section, as the football team was honored at halftime for the Legends division championship and Outback Bowl win. It was no coincidence this happened at a game where a large host of recruits were present.
Next up for MSU is Minnesota at Breslin Center on Wednesday. If you want to win the Big Ten, you probably have to win almost all of your home games.
(Box score here)