WEST LAFAYETTE – It wasn’t just a warm day outside here in February. It was hot inside Mackey Arena as well as #16 Purdue took on Michigan State. Purdue’s big men Issac Haas and Caleb Swanigan both had their way in the first half against Sparty. Swanigan had 11 in the first half. Purdue shot 50% (5-10) in the 1st half against Sparty. A loud sellout crowd at Mackey Arena came ready to cheer on their Boilermakers. There was no a empty seat in the house which welcomed Spartans coach Tom Izzo with a chorus of boos. Purdue and Michigan State traded buckets with neither getting a larger lead than 3 halfway through the 1st half. Then Purdue’s shooters stepped up and hit 4 big threes to build a lead on the Spartans.
Purdue came out in the 2nd half hot with 3 straight makes and Sparty turned it over 3 straight. It became a foul fest in the 2nd half. Eron Harris went down on a scary play and had to be carted out on a stretcher. Harris is a Indy native from Lawrence North. Best wishes to the senior.
Caleb Swanigan had his nation leading 23rd double-double of the season and Vince Edwards joined the 1,000 point club. Haas continued his great play with solid shooting and rebounding. If Swanigan and Haas can provide the presence inside that Purdue needs, they have a chance to go far in the NCAA Tournament. Swanigan finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Purdue shot over 50% from the field and 33% from three point range.
With the win, Purdue sits alone at the top of the Big Ten standings with a half game lead on Wisconsin and Maryland. Purdue plays at Penn State on Tuesday and at Michigan next Saturday.