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  • Associated Press Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, left, and Joshua Langford celebrate after the Spartans beat Purdue on Saturday. Bridges hit the game-winning 3 in the closing seconds.

  • Associated Press Purdue's Isaac Haas works for position against Michigan State's Gavin Schilling during the second half Saturday. Haas scored 25 points.

Sunday, February 11, 2018 1:00 am

Michigan State 68, Purdue 65

Boilermakers fall on 3-pointer

Painter credits Spartans' Bridges for his 'great play'

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Sometimes a great player simply makes a great play.

That's what happened Saturday when No. 4 Michigan State's Miles Bridges knocked down a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key with less than three seconds left to send the Spartans to a 68-65 victory over No. 3 Purdue at the Breslin Center.

“Miles Bridges made a great play,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “That's part of basketball and competition. It's a fine line between winning and losing. We've won a lot of games this year, one-possession-type games and now we've lost a couple. You've got to learn from it.”

Purdue (23-4, 12-2 Big Ten) ended up on the wrong end of that fine line in two consecutive games, losing in the final seconds against both the Spartans and No. 14 Ohio State on Wednesday.

“I know that our guys can grind out close wins, I've seen us do it before,” center Isaac Haas said. “I thought that we had it in the bag there at the end, but it's unfortunate. Great players hit tough shots and when (Bridges) hit that, it sucks.”

Bridges finished with 20 points.

Haas was the focal point of Purdue's offense all evening, putting up a career-high 22 shots and finishing with 25 points. The Boilermakers went to the senior frequently in the post because the Spartans made a strategic choice to guard him with only one player.

“We wanted to keep going in to him, since (Michigan State) was staying one-on-one (against Haas), just keep it simple, and we were able to do that for the most part,” Painter said. “They made a decision, and we had to roll with it.”

Despite finishing with a game-high scoring total, Haas said after the game he thought there were shots he usually makes that didn't fall. One shot in particular, a right-handed jump hook over his left shoulder, rimmed out multiple times after Haas had gotten himself into strong position in the post.

“When I stuck to what was fundamental, what was sound, and no matter how far away it was, I just stuck with that hook and it was pretty much unguardable, but I just missed it,” he said. “That's where I just gotta go back and get some more work in and make sure I don't miss those later.”

For much of the game, it looked as if Purdue would get its first road win against a top 5 opponent since 1994. The Boilermakers led by as many as 10 in the first half and eight in the second half. They didn't commit their first turnover of the game until more than 31 minutes had elapsed.

The Boilers were undone by two dry spells on offense, one in each half, that saw the Boilermakers go scoreless for several minutes and miss five or six shots in a row to allow the Spartans to close the gap.

“When we get the lead, we gotta do a better job of trying to control the pace, control the tempo, making sure we're getting a good shot on every possession and making sure we're locking in on defense so we can extend the lead,” guard P.J. Thompson said.

Haas hit jumpers on back-to-back possessions in the final two minutes to give Purdue a 65-63 lead, but Spartans forward Kenny Goins, who averages two points per game, hit a tough jumper to knot the score with 48 seconds left, setting up Bridges' heroics.

dsinn@jg.net