EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP)—Paul Davis and Michigan State dominated the boards and ran away from Purdue in the second half.
Davis scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half to help the 12th-ranked Spartans beat Purdue 77-52 on Wednesday night.
Michigan State held a 38-18 rebounding edge and had 24 assists in 29 baskets.
“The biggest thing was to pick up our intensity,” Davis said. “With those rebounds, we started running. And that led to a lot of assists and dunks against a real scrappy team.”
Maurice Ager had 16 points, Shannon Brown added 14 and Drew Neitzel 11 for the Spartans (18-5, 6-3 Big Ten), who outrebounded the Boilermakers 38-18 and shot 61 percent from the field in the second half.
“We came out with the ‘W’ in a very physical game,” Brown said. “Nobody is safe in this league. You’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game every night. You’ve got to be ready to fight. When you’re aggressive and unselfish, you can accomplish a lot.”
Marcus White led Purdue (8-14, 2-9) with 14 points, while Gary Ware added 11.
Matt Kiefer, the Boilermakers’ top scorer in conference play, was held to six points by Michigan State’s Matt Trannon, who also led all rebounders with eight.
“I just thought they were quicker to the ball and more aggressive,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “A lot of it simply has to do with wanting it. I thought we were lucky to be in the position we were in at halftime after being dominated on the boards.”
The Spartans won for the sixth time in seven games and moved into a second-place tie in the league. They beat Purdue for the seventh straight time at home.
The Boilermakers rallied from a 27-17 deficit late in the first half to tie it at 32. But Ager’s drive gave Michigan State a 34-32 edge at the break, thanks largely to a 22-8 rebound advantage.
“The rebounding was what?” Ager said. “Man, that’s good. But that’s what we’re trying to do, kill our opponents on the boards. When we do that and stay focused, the sky’s the limit for this team.”
The Spartans took over from there with 14 of their 25 assists in the second half. Davis was 5-for-6 from the field and 6-for-6 at the line in the last 20 minutes.
“I look at the stats and kind of see a different game than I watched,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “I didn’t really like the game I watched, to be honest with you. But the stats say we did some things well. And I was very proud of Maurice Ager and Paul Davis at halftime. They vowed we’d be better defensively in the second half, and we were.”