West Lafayette, Ind. — Tom Izzo never has been one to sugarcoat things that take place on the basketball court.
Good or bad, the Michigan State coach almost always will tell it like it is. On Sunday afternoon at Mackey Arena, there was only one way to say it.
“It was a butt-kicking,” Izzo said. ‘We got our butts kicked today.”
It was impossible to argue after Purdue jumped out early and rolled to a 71-42 victory over No. 8 Michigan State, ending an eight-game winning streak for the Spartans, who now have lost four in a row at Purdue.
It was the most one-sided loss for Michigan State (13-4, 5-1 Big Ten) since a 29-point setback to Michigan in February of 2017 and the 42 points were the fewest since a 42-41 loss at Illinois in 2012. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was also Michigan State’s worst loss as a top-10 team having never lost as a top-10 team by more than 22 points.
“What kind of speech do I give,” Izzo said afterward. “It was probably the worst beating I've taken as a coach.”
It might serve Izzo well to simply burn the game tape from Sunday and move on to the next opponent. But the performance was so poor, there likely will be plenty of critiques coming. As Izzo said after the game, there will be plenty of “movie time” over the next few days.
Izzo warned just days ago not to get carried away with Michigan State’s quick start in the Big Ten. The schedule had been favorable, he pointed out, with just one road game, and that one came at Northwestern, a team that has a grand total of one conference victory.
And Mackey Arena is no ordinary venue. It’s as intense as it gets, and it showed as the Spartans were rattled early and never recovered. Cassius Winston and Rocket Watts each scored 10 points as the offense was out of sync the entire game with Michigan State committing 18 turnovers, including nine for Winston, who was 4-for-13 shooting.
“It was a rough game,” Winston said. “We started off great in the Big Ten, but we didn't really expect a win 'em all. So if you’re going to lose, lose to a team that beats you, and I think Purdue beat us tonight.”
There was no debating that fact, either.
Trevion Williams (Detroit Henry Ford Academy) was a force in the post, scoring 16 to lead Purdue (10-7, 3-3) while Evan Boudreaux added 11 points and Sasha Stefanovic and Eric Hunter Jr. each chipped in 10 points for the Boilermakers. Purdue scored 21 points off Michigan State’s turnovers and had 14 second-chance points on 13 offensive rebounds.
“We wanted to be as active as we could (on defense),” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “Really it comes down to Cassius, because he had half of (the turnovers). He had nine of them and that’s rare for him. When he was younger you could try and wear him down, but he’s progressed to where you can’t wear him down. Today we were able to do it a little bit.”
It was all Purdue from the opening tip as a 7-4 lead quickly jumped to 19-4 after a 12-0 run from the Boilermakers that included back-to-back 3-pointers from Isaiah Thompson and Boudreaux, who entered the game 1-for-13 on triples for the season.
Michigan State ended a nearly six-minutes scoreless drought with a Xavier Tillman layup but went cold again later in the half as Purdue’s lead grew to 37-16 on Boudreaux’s second 3-pointer of the half. The Spartans managed a Winston runner and a putback bucket from Julius Marble to cut the deficit to 37-20 headed into the locker room at halftime. The Spartans turned the ball over eight times, leading to 10 points for the Boilermakers. Purdue also grabbed eight offensive rebounds, which led to nine second-chance points.
Halftime was a familiar position for both teams as Purdue led 37-19 at halftime in last season’s meeting. In that game, Michigan State came storming back to cut the deficit to four before Purdue ultimately held on for the victory.
The Boilermakers expected a similar surge this time, but never really came. The Spartans showed some life to open the second half by scoring seven straight points, capped by an Aaron Henry 3-pointer, to cut the Purdue lead to 39-27. The Boilermakers hit two straight 3-pointers and pushed the lead back to 16 before the Spartans made their final surge.
A Malik Hall triple followed by a Watts baseline jumper pulled Michigan State within 47-36 with just less than 10 minutes to play. But Purdue took over with a 15-2 run to put the game away.
“They never quite got in a rhythm,” Painter said of the Spartans. “We tried to bottle them up and they just never got going and when that happens, sometimes it’s hard to come back on the road.”
"I just thought they never really quite got into a rhythm," Painter said. "I don't want to put that on them or give us the credit. A lot of times it's something in between."
Michigan State is off until Friday when it hosts Wisconsin at the Breslin Center. After that, the Spartans are back on the road with back-to-back games at Indiana and Minnesota where they’ll try and bounce back away from home.
“I don't feel very good,” Izzo said. “I feel embarrassed. I feel embarrassed for our fans. I feel embarrassed for our national TV audience. I feel embarrassed for our staff … so we'll reevaluate everybody. We will make a big deal about this game. We will not live and die with it. We will get better from it, and that's what I plan on doing.”