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Men’s basketball: Purdue falters in second half at MSU

EAST LANSING MI - JANUARY 05:  Adreian Payne #5 Michigan State Spartans looks take shot while sitting floor between

EAST LANSING, MI - JANUARY 05: Adreian Payne #5 of the Michigan State Spartans looks to take a shot while sitting on the floor between A.J. Hammons #20 and Anthony Johnson #1 of the Purdue Boilermakers at the Jack T. Breslin Student Events Center on January 5, 2013 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State won the game 84-61. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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Updated: February 7, 2013 6:49AM



EAST LANSING, Mich. — Into the second half, Purdue was hanging with No. 18 Michigan State on Saturday at the Breslin Center.

In fact, the Boilermakers were leading heading into the first official timeout. Then the game shifted swiftly and dramatically.

Purdue fouled, Michigan State made foul shots. The Boilermakers missed foul shots, as well as shots from the field.

It all added up to the Spartans pulling away for an 84-61 win.

“You’re going to have things go against you, and a lot of things right in a row went against us,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “The thing that you have to talk about as a coach are the things that you can control. ... We had some things in that stretch that we could control, and we just didn’t handle our business.”

The Boilermakers (7-7, 1-1 Big Ten) opened the second half on a 9-2 run to forge a 39-38 lead, one they still held with 15:51 left. But the Spartans (12-3, 1-1) responded with an 11-2 run of their own. They went 9-of-10 from the line to start the spurt — they began the half 10-of-11 from the line — before Lew Wallace graduate Branden Dawson scored their first basket of the half to give them a 49-41 lead with 12:19 left.

During that period, Anthony Johnson was called for a dead-ball technical foul — he apparently threw an elbow — with 13:14 left after the officials went to the monitor to review the play. On the play, Michigan State’s Travis Trice had been called for a foul, but Trice made two free throws and the Spartans retained possession.

Then, with 12:59 left, freshman center A.J. Hammons was called for a foul — his third of the game — after he had pulled down a defensive rebound. Michigan State ended that sequence with two Derrick Nix free throws that made it 47-41 with 12:43 left.

The Boilermakers drew no closer than 49-43 the rest of the game.

“Those are things you have to overcome,” senior swingman D.J. Byrd said. “It’s going to happen whether you’re on the road or sometimes even at home. But you have to keep your composure, keep your head in the game, and stay together, understand what’s going on on the floor, because it’s already happened, and you have to be able to fight back and continue to play the game.

“We can’t have stretches where they’re already up six, and then things happen, and they go up 15. That’s what hurt us the most. The first half, we played hard and battled them hard; the second half, it was just too much. We just dug ourselves too much of a hole.”

Hammons’ foul trouble also clearly hampered Purdue. After briefly sitting out and returning following his third foul, he got his fourth with 10:09 left, then went to the bench until the 6:30 mark. Well before, the Boilermakers had lost their handle on the game; by then, the game was long over, even if Hammons continued to score in the post.

“It hurt us when we had the call go against us and then A.J. Hammons had to go out,” Painter said. “We felt like we had to get the ball inside to try to steal some points, and with him out of the game, we don’t have the same presence.”

Hammons led the Boilermakers with 20 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots. He shot 8-of-12 from the field, but also went 4-of-10 from the line, as they went 9-of-20 as a team, including 6-of-16 in the second half.

Byrd had 14 points, with 11 coming in the first half; and Terone Johnson added 11 on 5-of-19 shooting, including 2-of-11 in the first half.

“We missed a lot of shots we normally make,” Terone said. “We got to the basket a lot, but we just couldn’t finish at the rim, in particular me.

“There was a lot of stuff we could control — things we can’t control, we can’t cry about it — but we can control missing layups in the lane, getting back on defense, not leaving guys open, and that’s what we didn’t do.”

The Spartans — who went 18-of-22 from the line, including 17-of-20 in the second half — placed five players in double-figure scoring.

Freshman Gary Harris had a game-high 22 points, going 7-of-13 from the field, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range to account for most of Michigan State’s 8-of-15 damage.

“Gary Harris really killed us. ... You can’t let a guy like that get going,” Painter said.

Dawson added 14 points, including 10 in the second half on 4-of-7 shooting, and a game-high 11 rebounds, with eight in the second half; the Spartans outrebounded the Boilermakers 44-35, after that category had been tied 22-22 at halftime.

“The injury is bothering the kid; he just hasn’t come back,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said of Dawson, who tore his ACL in the 2011-12 regular-season finale. “Would you say tentative, he could’ve dunked some, could’ve gotten up? The second half, I think he just decided to let it go. I don’t think it’s physically hindering him, but like a lot of people tell me, it’s a mental hindrance with a serious injury like that. He played with a different energy level in the second half. ... He needed to have a good game, and now we’ll see if he can maintain that kind of energy that he had in the second half, because it was a big difference in the game.”

Hammons was asked what he learned in his first Big Ten road game.

“Be ready at all times,” he said. “Bring your ‘A’ game or get embarrassed.”



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