WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — No. 18 Purdue turned Tuesday night’s game into an impromptu senior night celebration.
Rapheal Davis, the Boilermakers’ defensive stopper, played the offensive game of his life. A.J. Hammons, the 7-foot center who patrols the post, nearly posted a triple-double. And together they refused to let No. 8 Michigan State beat them again.
Davis made 1 of 2 free throws with 4.6 seconds left in overtime and Hammons wrestled the ensuing rebound from several defenders to preserve an 82-81 victory that set off an overdue celebration.
"I’ve been telling these guys since the summer I just want to beat Michigan State," Davis said. "I’ve never beat Michigan State. Playing Michigan State is like playing IU (Indiana) for me. It’s a little bit more than playing IU for me."
Leading up to the game, the banter had focused almost exclusively on the Boilermakers’ seven-game losing streak in this series.
So when Purdue’s 18-point second-half lead vanished and Michigan State (20-5, 7-5 Big Ten) took a 72-68 lead with 1:59 left in regulation, it looked like the Boilermakers were doomed again.
Davis and Hammons wouldn’t allow it to happen.
The Boilermakers (20-5, 8-4) scored the final four points of regulation and the first four points in overtime. Davis broke the 81-81 tie and Hammons sealed it with the rebound before spiking the ball and jogging to midcourt where the Purdue players embraced.
"I saw them fighting over it so I just reached in and made sure I got it," Hammons said.
Davis needed just one half to produce a season-high 19 points and set a career high by making five 3-pointers. When the shooting guard cooled off in the second half, Hammons jumped in and finished the job. He scored 19 points, had a season-high 13 rebounds and eight blocks to equal a career high.
Hammons wasn’t the only player flirting with a triple-double on this wacky night.
Denzel Valentine finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Spartans.
His three 3-pointers in a 49-second flurry early in the second half got the Spartans back into the game and his layup with 11.5 seconds left in overtime tied the score at 81.
But after forcing a shot-clock violation late in regulation, Valentine missed a 3 at the buzzer that could have won it and committed the foul on Davis in overtime that proved to be the difference.
"It was a hell of a basketball game," Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. "I didn’t think we deserved to be 18 down. We took good enough shots in layups and dunks, but I thought Purdue out-played us. They made the plays down the stretch and tonight the better team won it."
For the second time in five weeks, the Boilermakers completely unraveled in the second half after dominating the first half. Against Iowa, Purdue blew a 17-point second-half lead and wound up getting beat 70-63. On Tuesday, after blowing the 18-point lead, they found a way to fight back and hold on for the win.
LONG TIME COMING
The Spartans hadn’t just been beating Purdue lately — they had blown them out. Purdue lost six of the seven previous games by double digits and hadn’t beaten Michigan State since Feb. 27, 2011. It’s also Purdue’s first win over a top-10 team since it beat No. 2 Ohio State 76-63 on Feb. 2, 2011.
Michigan State shot a dismal 31.5 percent from the field in the first half, while the Boilermakers were just 11 of 36 in the final 25 minutes. Other than Davis, who finished 6 of 8 from 3, the teams combined to go 13 of 36 from beyond the arc.
Spartans: The only other players to reach double figures were Matt Costello with 11 points and Matt McQuaid with 10. … Michigan State started the night with the nation’s most lopsided rebounding advantage (plus-12.8) but got outrebounded 42-39. … Costello blocked one shot to tie Drew Nymick (134) for No. 3 on the school’s career list. Costello needs nine blocks to break Branden Dawson’s school record (142).
Boilermakers: Caleb Swanigan, Indiana’s reigning Mr. Basketball who originally committed to play for the Spartans, scored the final four points of regulation to force overtime and finished with eight points and four rebounds. … Purdue is still the only Division I team that has outrebounded its opponent in every game this season.