No. 3 Purdue hangs on to beat Michigan State 67-62 in Big Ten quarterfinals

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Syndication: Detroit Free Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Zach Edey had 29 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks for third-ranked Purdue, and the Boilermakers recovered from a blown 12-point lead to beat Michigan State 67-62 in a hard-nosed quarterfinal game in the Big Ten Tournament on Friday.

Lance Jones added 10 points for the Boilermakers (29-3), who advanced to play the Wisconsin-Northwestern winner in the semifinals on Saturday.

Tyson Walker had 15 points, Malik Hall pitched in 12 points and Tre Holloman scored 10 points for the Spartans (19-14), who had an 18-0 edge in fast-break points and made a spirited rally to tie the game late before falling short in head coach Tom Izzo’s 1,000th game on the bench.

Walker, the fifth-year guard, stepped up down the stretch to lead the surge.

He knocked down a mid-range jumper for the tie with 1:41 left, the closest the Spartans came since a 3-2 lead, but Fletcher Loyer answered with a 3-pointer from the corner on the other end for Purdue. Loyer pressed his index finger to his lips as he trotted up the court and appeared to shout something at the Michigan State bench as the teams dispersed for a timeout.

Xavier Booker had a clear look at the top of the key from 3 with 1:05 to go to tie it back up, but the ball rolled around the inside of the rim and bounced out.

The Boilermakers had a scare midway through the second half when first team All-Big Ten point guard Braden Smith hobbled off the court after an awkward landing on his right leg and writhed in pain while clutching his knee. But Smith re-entered about four minutes later, with Purdue still leading by five.

The Boilermakers are two wins away from matching Michigan State (1999, 2000) as the only Big Ten program to win both the outright regular season title and the conference tournament in consecutive years. The Spartans used that feat 24 years ago as a launching pad for the national championship, which still stands as the last time a Big Ten team won it all.

One step at a time for Purdue, of course, with that crushing loss to 16th-seeded Farleigh Dickinson in the first round of the NCAA Tournament still unanswered until the Big Dance begins anew.

Smith played only 10 minutes in the first half with two early fouls, but the Boilermakers had a 34-27 cushion despite missing four of five 3-pointers. They entered the day as the country’s second-best shooting team from deep at 41.1%, trailing only Kentucky.

This matchup of the Big Ten’s two most successful programs over the last three decades predictably resembled a football game at times, with the Spartans sending Carson Cooper, Jaxon Kohler and Mady Sissoko into the post to try to somehow disrupt the rhythm of the reigning AP Player of the Year, and though they were successful at times the 7-foot-4 Edey got plenty of soft hooks to fall.

He stared down and pressed his forearm on Holloman at one point, after the Minneapolis native who played at Cretin-Derham Hall High School fouled Loyer and was too close to Edey’s liking. Both players picked up a technical foul for that exchange, which was par for the course for the afternoon.

Cooper got whacked in the nose by the downswing of Cam Heide’s arm on his drive to the hoop late in the first half, forcing the 6-foot-11 Cooper to play with gauze in his nose.

There were 46 fouls called in the game, with 29 on the Spartans. Sissoko fouled out.