EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Since the early 1990’s Michigan State and Purdue have been involved in their fair share of battles, so why would Saturday’s meeting at Breslin Center be any different?
With 1.4 seconds left on the game clock Tyson Walker hit the game-winning three to ensure MSU would indeed pull off the upset, beating No. 4 Purdue 68-65 to snap its three-game losing streak.
If the score, and the way in which it happened sounds familiar, it should.
In 2018 when MSU hosted Purdue former Spartan and current Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges hit a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left to lift MSU over Purdue and the score? 68-65. It was a shot Purdue’s coach Matt Painter remembered almost immediately after the game.
“Last time we kind of had the same scenario,” said Painter. “Miles Bridges hit the same kind of three in front of their bench at the end. I was proud of our guys the way we rebounded. I thought we did a good job on the glass and that’s always tough to outrebound a Michigan State team. We’ve had some good battles throughout the years.”
Tom Izzo also couldn’t help but reflect on Bridges’ game-winner back on that February day.
“I remember every shot ever taken to win a game,” said Izzo. “That’s something that goes in your brain and I do see Miles. I see it up there. I have a picture of it.”
Whether the Spartans and Boilermakers are playing in West Lafayette, or East Lansing, there’s never any shortage of drama and one of the matchups Izzo remembers quite vividly was when the two met in West Lafayette back in 1997. The Spartans routed the No. 5 Boilermakers, 74-57, to put themselves on the national radar.
“I do think these teams have had some battles,” said Izzo. “I mean I talk to (Gene) Keady still all the time and when I look back at the years, and that includes when Jud (Heathcote) was here, I mean there were some battles.”
With the Boilermakers being the fourth best team in the country, as well as winners of nine of their last 10 games, the Spartans knew they had to come into Saturday’s game with a lot of energy and effort.
The type of effort Tyson Walker displayed a week earlier, against Illinois, when he scored 18 of his 26 points in the final six and half minutes of the game. The Spartan junior has been finding his confidence in his shot with each passing game and not only did Izzo want him to have the ball in his hands on the final possession, but Walker wanted it too.
“In my head, if they score, I’m going to come down and make a shot because I felt the same way about Illinois,” said Walker. “I knew I was going to win a game like that.”