Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan can’t be bothered at MSU
East Lansing — Caleb Swanigan knew he was going to hear it from the Michigan State crowd on Tuesday night.
That tends to go with the territory when you were a five-star recruit who once verbally committed to play at Michigan State in the spring of 2015 only to back out a few weeks later and head to a Big Ten rival.
This was the first time the Purdue big man has played at the Breslin Center in his career after the Boilermakers didn’t make the trip to East Lansing last season when Swanigan was a freshman. He was greeted with plenty of boos and the Izzone even started a chant of “cheesecake,” at various times as a shot at what was once a weight problem for the 6-foot-8 Swanigan who now checks in at 250 pounds.
None of it affected him, however, as he scored 25 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in No. 20 Purdue’s 84-73 victory over Michigan State.
“It was good,” Swanigan said afterward. “The chants I didn’t hear that much. The most venomous crowd was really Iowa. They got pretty rowdy.”
The Breslin crowd did its best to get on Swanigan, but the fact Michigan State’s big men got in foul trouble was a bigger issue. Nick Ward and Kenny Goins were in and out of the lineup the entire game and Swanigan responded.
His double-double was the 17th of the season, which leads the nation. It was especially gratifying for Swanigan because he stayed focused.
“You can’t let it get personal,” Swanigan said, “because then you don’t play well. You make selfish decisions when you try and make it personal. You’ve got to make it about Purdue.”
Along with 7-2 Isaac Haas, Swanigan cause plenty of issues for the Spartans up front
“We just tried to get the ball inside and get those guys to make simple decisions,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “We wanted to be aggressive and we did a better job in the second half and put those guys in scoring position.”
Michigan State freshman Miles Bridges, who knows Swanigan well from their days playing in the same AAU organization, did his best to match Swanigan. Bridges had 33 points and had seven rebounds.
“Caleb Swanigan, he’s a great player and made a lot of veteran plays,” Bridges said. “Isaac Haas is 7-2 so there’s nothing we can really do about that. Like I said, we fought as hard as we could and if we play like that every game we’ll win a lot more.”
Former Michigan guard Spike Albrecht made his return to the Breslin Center on Tuesday. He is a graduate transfer for the Boilermakers and played 14 minutes but missed his only shot while grabbing a rebound and getting one steal.
The home crowd greeted him with a familiar chant, calling him “Justin Bieber,” something they did regularly when Albrecht played for the Wolverines.
... Izzo said he believes Kenny Goins suffered a broken nose after getting hit in the face by Matt McQuaid.