The Michigan State Spartans take the top slot in the Big 10 Conference, 1/2 a game over Indiana, after a big win against the Purdue Boilermakers. The Michigan Wolverines lost against the Wisconsin Badgers earlier today. Indiana will take on Ohio State tomorrow. If Indiana loses, the Spartans will be up by a game going into their game against the Wolverines on Tuesday.
Michigan State had three players who were injured going into the game. Travis Trice was out once again with concussion trouble (let’s wish him a speedy recovery). Gary Harris has been dealing with some back spasm problems, and after a shoulder injury last week’s game, Keith Appling came into today’s match with a shoulder brace. That didn’t stop the force that is Tom Izzo’s 2012-2013 season Spartans. They still came out victorious – injuries and a high foul count could just wait until later. Trice and Harris sat out Friday’s practice.
The team took an early lead when the Spartans took a 7-0 run and then 6-0 run to get an early lead of 31-23 going into halftime. When they came back, the men were on fire. Appling scored 7 points during a 9-2 stretch to widen the lead between the two teams 62-45 with just over seven minutes left. Following that lead, Purdue didn’t get closer than 12 points away.
This makes the third win in a row for the Spartans, and the East Lansing team has won 9 of the last 10 conference games. They’re in a very good position to come out on top of the conference games. Especially if they keep scoring like they did tonight. Brandon Dawson led in scoring with 20 points, Appling and Derrick each had 17 points, and Adreian Payne came out of the game with 12 points. Gary Harris had only 8 points in this game, not shooting a whole lot – though he did play the game with all of the fierceness and passion he could muster with the back pain.
Even with the injuries, the Spartans were fearless out on the court. This win builds momentum for the big Michigan game on Tuesday, where if the Spartans win, it will solidify their standings in the Big Ten conference.