Perennial powerhouse Michigan State isn’t used to 30-point losses.
The Spartans will try to bounce back from one of their worst outings in recent memory when they head to West Lafayette, Ind., to face Purdue in a Big Ten Conference contest on Tuesday.
Michigan State (10-8, 4-8) was blown out at home by Iowa, 88-58, on Saturday and longtime coach Tom Izzo was embarrassed by his team’s performance.
The Spartans need to get hot to move into the NCAA Tournament picture, so they must find some answers quickly.
“(Saturday) was an ambush,” Izzo said. “It’s one game. It’s not good, but it’s not been indicative of how we’ve played. We know what our goal is and what we have to do. There’s so many games we have to win, and we have eight left to do that and see what we can do. So, no excuses. Blame should go on me, and solely on me, not on (the players).”
The Spartans recorded home wins against Nebraska and Penn State in their previous two games but they were no match for the offensively gifted Hawkeyes. Iowa shot 49.2 percent from the field while holding Michigan State to 35.5 percent shooting.
Senior guard Joshua Langford vowed that the lopsided loss wouldn’t lead to a season-ending slide.
“We kind of felt like we were getting our confidence back after those two wins. But at the end of the day, we don’t have time to hang our heads,” he said. “We still have some of the season left and we still have a chance to try to do some things.”
Langford is well aware that the Spartans’ streak of 22 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances will end if they don’t start piling up victories.
“This is not the time to be throwing in the towel,” he said. “I’m not throwing in the towel, I don’t think my teammates and my coaches are throwing in the towel, nobody’s giving up. That’s not what we do at Michigan State. And I think this year could turn around tremendously.”
Purdue (13-8, 8-6) has fallen into a win-one, lose-one mode over the past six games. Poor perimeter shooting led to the Boilermakers’ demise in a 71-68 loss to Minnesota on Thursday.
“You can’t go on the road and shoot 2 for 17,” coach Matt Painter said of his team’s 3-point shooting. “We’ve got too many guys that can shoot the ball well that didn’t knock down shots for us. You’ve got to be able to shoot the basketball better.”
The Boilermakers’ past three games have been decided by a total of nine points. They also dropped a one-point decision to Maryland and downed Northwestern by a five-point margin.
“We’ve allowed it to be close and that’s what happens in close games,” Painter said.
Purdue has won five of the past seven meetings with Michigan State.
The Boilermakers pulled out a 55-54 win in East Lansing last month, rallying from a 15-point halftime deficit. Trevion Williams scored 22 of his 26 points after halftime, including the game-winning basket with 4.5 seconds left.
The Spartans missed 11 of their final 13 shots.
–Field Level Media