Edey leads No. 2 Purdue past Michigan State 80-74 to clinch share of 2nd straight Big Ten title

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Zach Edey had 32 points and 11 rebounds, Braden Smith added 23 points and nine boards, and No. 2 Purdue beat Michigan State 80-74 on Saturday night to clinch a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship.

Gold confetti fell from the Mackey Arena rafters as Purdue celebrated its conference-best 26th title. With a win in either of their final two games, the Boilermakers (26-3, 15-3) would claim a second straight outright regular-season crown.

“A great accomplishment to win back-to-back,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “It’s hard. You play 20 (conference) games. Just happy for our entire team, but really our seniors. They’ve done things the right way.”

The last Big Ten team to win back-to-back outright regular-season titles was Ohio State in 2006 and 2007.

Michigan State (17-12, 9-9) shot just 39% and has lost three straight. Tyson Walker had 14 points and seven rebounds, Jaden Akins scored 13, Malik Hall added 12 and Xavier Booker 11.

Spartans coach Tom Izzo was asked if the performance made him feel better about the state of his team.

“It’s a loaded question and a tough question,” he said. “I was pleased we competed. If we would have done that in the last two weeks, we would have won three more games, and that’s my fault. I've got a good team. I’m not saying it’s great; it’s good.”

Fletcher Loyer finished with 15 points for Purdue, which has won 16 in a row at home. Loyer made four 3-pointers after hitting just nine the entire month of February.

“I’m glad he found his shot back,” Smith said.

The Boilermakers ran out to a 15-point lead on Edey’s three-point play with 14:26 to go, but Michigan State had an answer. A.J. Hoggard drained an open 3-pointer from the left wing to trim the deficit to 58-55, prompting a timeout by Painter with 9:13 remaining.

Out of the break, Smith knocked down a 3 and Purdue held steady from there. Michigan State never got closer than five in the final three minutes. Mason Gillis’ 3 with 56.3 seconds remaining extended Purdue’s lead to 77-69.

“We’ve got a great team,” Gillis said. “It’s great (to clinch a share of the Big Ten regular-season title). It’s even better to do it with a great group of guys.”

Izzo called a timeout with 1:46 left in the first half after Edey scored eight points in just more than two minutes to turn a 28-27 deficit into a 35-30 Purdue lead.

Smith then drained a 3 on the other end for a 38-30 advantage, Purdue’s largest to that point after it had trailed by eight early. Walker knocked down a 3 as time expired in the first half to send the Spartans to the locker room down 38-35.

FOUL PLAY

Edey, a favorite to repeat as national player of the year, shot 9 of 15 from the field and feasted at the foul line, making 14 of 20 free throws. The four Michigan State defenders who spent the most time guarding the 7-foot-4 center — Mady Sissoko, Jaxon Kohler, Xavier Booker and Carson Cooper — combined for 13 fouls.

“We made some key mistakes,” Izzo said, “and we’re not good enough to do that against what I consider the best team in the country.”

BIG PICTURE

Michigan State: There is no shame in losing at Mackey Arena, where the Spartans have dropped seven straight. Nor will this defeat harm Michigan State’s spot in the NCAA’s NET rankings, 24th entering Saturday. Still, the program’s streak of making 25 consecutive NCAA Tournaments could be in jeopardy if Izzo’s team doesn’t win one of its two remaining regular-season games.

Purdue: Barring an unexpected collapse, the Boilermakers appear headed for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year. Purdue picked up its 10th Quad 1 win, most in the country. Against current members of the AP Top 25, the Boilermakers are 6-0 courtesy of wins over No. 4 Tennessee, No. 5 Marquette, No. 6 Arizona, No. 13 Illinois, No. 14 Alabama and No. 23 Gonzaga.

UP NEXT

Michigan State: Returns home to face Northwestern on Wednesday night as the Spartans look to avenge an 88-74 loss at Northwestern on Jan. 7.

Purdue: Plays at Illinois on Tuesday night in the Boilermakers’ final road game of the season.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball