The Michigan State basketball team earned its first win today, beating the Purdue Boilermakers 84-61. The score suggests a blowout, but the game was extremely competitive until about seven minutes left in the second half. There were a few key points from the game that resonated with me.
- 1. A.J. Hammons is a beast. The 7 foot, 260 pound freshman dominated the inside all day. Even with the more experienced Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne guarding him, Hammons was the clear standout big man. Once he learns to put in performances like this on a consistent basis, he’ll be a handful for the entire Big Ten.
- 2. Tale of two halves.The Spartans looked to be in for a tough game until the end. The Spartans really poured it on with
12 minutes left to go, and started getting out in transition and getting easy buckets. Also, Branden Dawson’s game was different in both halves. After struggling mightily in the first half, Dawson picked up the intensity and ended up with a double double.
- 3. Gary Harris is ready to breakout. Harris was the Spartans best player. Shooting over 50 percent and going 6 for 8 from three, Harris was in full out attack mode. Whether it was plays designed for him or creating his own shot Harris found ways to put the ball in the basket. If Harris can continue this he may not just be one of the best scorers in the Big Ten, but the entire nation.
The Spartans will be happy to notch their first win in Big Ten play. The Spartans played significantly better in the second half and showed how their great defense can lead to easy offense. The Spartans next face a dangerous Iowa team that only lost to Indiana by four points.