No. 4 Michigan State (24-3 overall, 12-2 Big Ten) inched past No. 3 Purdue (23-4, 12-2) 68-65 at home on Saturday behind a long 3-pointer from Miles Bridges with 2.7 seconds left.
The win moved Michigan State into second place in the Big Ten race behind Ohio State. Bridges got it done with 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Cassius Winston controlled the offense with 10 points and 10 assists.
WHY: Michigan State stayed strong with its plan of not doubling the post. Isaac Haas scored 25 points, but he missed a hook shot that could have put Purdue ahead in the final minute. Ultimately, it came down to a great player in Bridges hitting a contested shot as he had all game.
WHAT IT MEANS: Michigan State has hope of winning a share of the conference title, but it will take help from Ohio State. In what likely was the last matchup of the regular season against a ranked opponent, the Spartans also significantly helped their seeding for the NCAA Tournament.
WHO STARRED: Bridges. Could it be anyone else? He didn’t force drives to the rim and instead pulled up for jumpers against defenders who didn’t have the length to block him. Defensively, he looked much more locked in than he was during the Spartans’ previous game, as were most of his teammates.
Miles Bridges' three-pointer with 2.7 seconds left clinches victory for No. 4 Michigan State over No. 3 Purdue. pic.twitter.com/q2axlWrRck
— ESPN (@espn) February 10, 2018
Gavin Schilling’s performance should not be ignored, either. He had several big stops against Haas that his teammates couldn’t achieve and battled for every rebound, grabbing 7 in his 20 minutes.
WHO STUMBLED: Josh Langford. He had bursts of energy for several minutes, but for much of the game he looked invisible on the floor. He couldn’t get open off screens and he struggled to hit the contested shots he took. He finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Not a terrible outing, but a lot of Michigan State players performed well.
WHO WAS THERE: On the bench alongside coach Tom Izzo before the game was Vernon Carey Jr., a 5-star forward and the No. 2 overall player in the 2019 class per the 247Sports composite system. Several Michigan State signees also visited the Breslin Center to help host Carey on his official visit.
At halftime, Michigan State honored Jud Heathcote, the former Spartans coach who died in August. Heathcote’s family, legendary Purdue coach Gene Keady and a host of former Michigan State players congregated at midcourt to recognize his life and achievements. Steve Smith led the gathering by speaking about how Heathcote built the foundation of the program.
WHO IS NEXT: Michigan State hits the road to face Minnesota at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday. ESPN2 will handle the broadcast.
Massive win for Michigan State's Big Ten title hopes. Now in second place. pic.twitter.com/WokeEeeYsw
— Luke Srodulski (@lsrodulski) February 10, 2018