Nobody on Purdue’s roster had ever defeated Michigan State.
Until Tuesday night.
A terrific Big Ten tilt went to overtime in West Lafayette, Indiana. It was a tug-and-pull game, a terrific affair with conference pride and an extended streak on the line. No. 8 MSU had won its previous seven games against 18th-ranked Purdue. But Raphael Davis had perhaps the best game of his college career, and his teammate, A.J. Hammons, was also stellar. Purdue got out with an 82-81 overtime victory, the type that could push the Boilermakers to contention for the Big Ten’s regular-season title.
The teams have equal 20-5 records, but the game — this is the only scheduled meeting between the Boilers and Sparty — puts Purdue one up in the loss column on MSU.
It was a that-was-close victory for Matt Painter’s team, which led by 18 in the second half and was threatened plenty down the stretch of regulation. Davis finished with a team-high 24 points, his best this season, plus seven boards. He had some rough shots, but the ones he made were at critical times. MSU’s Denzel Valentine had a game-high 27 points and essentially willed his team back into the game, then kept them right there in overtime.
Hammons nearly had a triple-double, scoring 19, grabbing 13 and swatting eight. He had the clinching rebound in the closing seconds that sealed the win. MSU’s winning streak was snapped at four games. The Spartans now look ahead to a home against Indiana — which will be a challenge — and then Wisconsin heads to the Breslin Center next week.
Purdue heads to Michigan this weekend. It’s going to be tough to win if the Wolverines — desperate for a statement win — finally get their star back. Caris LeVert has been out for two months because of a leg injury. His status for Saturday’s game is undecided.
If you’d like to know how big Tuesday’s win was: Purdue earned its first victory against a top-25 team in KenPom. Remove the metrics, and even still, beating the Spartans lands as the best win of Purdue’s season, with conquests over Florida, Vanderbilt, Pitt and Michigan trailing behind.