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Michigan State 84, Purdue 61

The SportsXchange

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Freshman Gary Harris had a season-high 22 points, including six 3-pointers, as the Michigan State Spartans won their Big Ten home opener 84-61 over the Purdue Boilermakers at Breslin Center on Saturday.

Sophomore Branden Dawson notched his fifth career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds while freshman Denzel Valentine added 11 points for No. 18 Michigan State, which is 10-0 at home.

Freshman A.J. Hammons led the Boilermakers with 20 points, tying his season high.

Michigan State (12-3, 1-1 Big Ten) lost at No. 13 Minnesota 76-63 in its Big Ten opener on Monday while Purdue (7-7, 1-1) began conference play with a 68-61 upset of No. 14 Illinois on Wednesday. The Boilermakers' leading scorer, junior Terone Johnson, had 25 points against the Illini but was limited to 11 points on 5 for 19 shooting on Saturday.

The game featured two of the conference's top rebounding teams and Michigan State won that battle 44-35. The Spartans were outrebounding opponents by 9.0 per game while the Boilermakers were averaging 8.7 more rebounds than their opponents.

Aggressive moves to the basket and free-throw shooting were critical to the Spartans' victory as they converted 17 of 20 foul shots in the second half. Michigan State also relied on its running game, holding a 16-6 advantage on fast-break points.

Purdue opened the second half with a 9-2 run, including an alley-oop dunk by Hammons, for a 39-38 edge. From there, the Spartans took control. They went on a 21-4 run that began with nine free throws. Harris hit a 3-pointer and Dawson converted a fast-break layup to finish it off for a 59-43 lead with 9:11 remaining.

Harris, whose previous high was 20 points against Loyola on Dec. 8, reached a new career high on a 3-pointer to make it 74-56.

Harris had 11 first-half points as the Spartans took a 36-30 halftime lead. Michigan State was averaging 4.6 3-pointers per game on 32 percent shooting but went 5 for 9 from long range in the first half, including three makes by Harris. The Boilermakers shot just 31.6 percent in the half but hung around behind D.J. Byrd's 11 points and the Spartans' seven turnovers.

Notes: Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has won his last 11 Big Ten home openers. ... The Boilermakers have used six starting lineups this season. ... The Spartans have the lowest ranking among the six Big Ten teams in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. ... Matt Painter is 6-9 against the Spartans as Purdue's head coach. ... Terone and Ronnie Johnson are one of eight sets of brothers playing for the same Division I school this season. ... Purdue leads the all-time series 65-49 but MSU has won 20 of the last 30 meetings.
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