Harris made a career-best six 3-pointers — his previous best was
five last season against the Boilermakers — and he finished with 25
points on a night when the Spartans made a season-high 17 shots from
beyond the arc.
"We need Gary Harris to shoot the ball well," said Michigan State
coach Tom Izzo, who also said that Harris asked to go from the team
hotel to Mackey Arena an hour before his teammates in order to get
in more pregame shooting.
That request obviously paid dividends for the Spartans, who came to
Mackey Arena having lost four of their seven most recent games.
"Two of the ones Adreian Payne made and two of the ones Gary Harris
made were just really tough shots," Purdue coach Matt Painter said.
"We obviously were trying to stay with them, but it was impressive.
They showed how skilled they are offensively. When they bring a guy
back from injury like Brendan Dawson, and Keith Appling is back but
is not even 100 percent, you really can see where their ceiling can
The 17 made 3-pointers also are a single-game record by a Purdue
opponent, replacing the 15 made by Penn State on Feb. 17, 2001, and
by Illinois on March 3, 2005.
Michigan State (22-5, 11-3 Big Ten) was coming off a shocking 60-51
loss to Nebraska on Sunday. In that game, the Spartans made only
five of 24 attempts from beyond the arc. They bounced back Thursday
to take a half-game lead on No. 20 Michigan for first place in the
conference heading into a Sunday showdown at Ann Arbor.
[to top of second column]
The Spartans were dialed in at Purdue's Mackey Arena, finishing 17
of 32 from 3-point range. Center Adreian Payne added 23 for Michigan
State, which trailed only once, 5-3 early in the game.
Harris, Payne and guard Travis Trice combined to make 14 of 23
attempts from beyond the arc.
Purdue sophomore guard Rapheal Davis, who had 13 points, said credit
must go to Harris.
"He read the screens real well," Davis said. "We made him work hard
for those shots, but he is just a very skilled player."
Guard Denzel Valentine added 16 points for Michigan State, and Trice
scored 14. Appling, the point guard who had been battling a wrist
injury, recorded nine assists.
"We get 26 assists on 30 baskets," Izzo said as he scanned the final
box score. "We turned the ball over 11 times, but that is decent
against a team that plays as hard and as physical as Purdue does.
"And obviously, we got some things out of Gary Harris. The way we
shot tonight is fun to coach.
"On Sunday, we shot 32 percent and looked like Syracuse against
Boston College on Wednesday night. Tonight, I didn't think we took
any bad shots. When the ball goes in the basket like it did tonight,
at the end of the day, everything looks better."
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