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Emotional Purdue gets first signature victory of season

If the sold-out Mackey Arena crowd and the noise it produced constantly wasn't an indication, how about the way Purdue's players reacted during key stretches Saturday night?

JaJuan Johnson is usually the guy full of emotion, yelling, pounding his chest, mugging for the camera and crowd after a big dunk or block.

But on this night -- with College GameDay in the house and a charged atmosphere -- even Kelsey Barlow, Sandi Marcius and E'Twaun Moore got caught up.

It was that emotion that helped fuel No. 14 Purdue's 86-76 victory over No. 17 Michigan State.

The Boilermakers didn't just play well -- they let everyone know it.

After Barlow cruised past Derrick Nix on the dribble and then delivered a right-handed dunk over the recovering Nix, Barlow erupted in a scream. Barlow's had his share of eye-popping plays this season, but he rarely gives a reaction. This time, though, the yell was fierce.

Later, Moore (26 points) missed a shot at the rim but then tipped it back in and got fouled. The chance for the three-point play had Moore screaming. And though he's showed more emotion this season, the three fingers up after a made three-pointer is usually about the extent of it.

Even Marcius, a little-used big man, was excited and pumping his fist after a Michigan State foul underneath.

That emotion was drawn from earlier in the day, Johnson said.

"That was proudest the loudest crowd since I've been here," he said. "I think it started from this morning and it kind of just carried over to the game. Mackey, it got really loud. It got hard to hear plays. I know it had to be pretty frustrating for the opposing team."