No. 23 Michigan State blew a 17-point second-half lead to Purdue on Friday night, falling 55-54 to the Boilermakers in dramatic fashion after Purdue big man Trevion Williams sunk a go-ahead jumper in the waning seconds of the game to seal the win. The shot from Williams, which dropped with just under six seconds left in the game, gave Purdue its first lead of the game since the 12:30 mark in the first half after playing catch-up the entire second half.
The go-ahead jumper from Williams came off a baseline out of bounds play under the hoop out of a timeout from Matt Painter. With Purdue trailing 54-53, Eric Hunter found a wide-open Williams off a messy double screen, and he caught and launched quickly to drop it right through the net. Michigan State's Aaron Henry's would-be game-winner on the other end as time expired kissed off the glass but clanked off the side of the rim.
It's a demoralizing loss for Michigan State (8-4, 2-4 Big Ten) because of the way in which it lost -- leading big at home as a heavy favorite and subsequently fumbling it away clumsily -- but especially so because of what it means for the team. It's Sparty's worst start to conference play since the 2002-2003 season, and further jeopardizes their streak of 22 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances under Tom Izzo.
Let's give Purdue(8-5, 3-3) credit: It didn't back down with its backs against the wall. In a road game against a ranked opponent, the Boilermakers instead outscored Michigan State 39-23 in the second half, with Williams' second-half explosion (he scored 24 of his 26 points after halftime) exceeding Sparty's scoring output in the second half as a team. That he sealed the win with a late jumper makes his performance all the more impressive.
As for Purdue, it bumps back to .500 in Big Ten play and snaps a two-game skid it carried into this one after losses to Rutgers and Illinois on the road. It has just one more road game to curb what has been a grueling slate of recent games with Indiana on deck next Thursday, before a two-game home stand against Penn State and Michigan.