EAST LANSING – Tom Izoo’s answers and explanations weren’t easy.
Michigan State Bordeaux led nearly the entire game on Friday – including 19 minutes 55.5 seconds into the second half – by dominating the defense, shooting above 50%, containing Trifon Williams early and building a 17-point lead less than a minute into the break. .
Then came the lack of interpretation of attribution.
At the last 18:46, Williams went to work inside in a seemingly unstoppable way. For more than 12 minutes, Spartans missed shot after shot – nine of them, from all three scoring levels.
And in the last 19.1 seconds, after MSU came forward by four points and seemed to be on the verge of salvaging the win, everything collapsed.
Error. rotation. Another mistake. A loose ball stayed with Purdue.
Boilermakers turned three possessions in 7.4 seconds into the final five points in the game, culminating in a Williams hook-up shot from inside pass with 4.5 marks remaining, to surprise Spartans 55-54 in Priceline.
In an effort to figure out how and why in the immediate aftermath, Ezo was forced to regroup play by playing 10 second-half turnovers, missing free throws, rebound opportunities and questionable summons by the umpires. He paused for a while, and calmly finished his assessment, head and shoulder, and they muttered “I don’t know” twice.
“The gods of basketball were not with us …” “But I’ll tell you this: The game should never have gone this far.”
A big match by Williams should sound an alarm when MSU (8-4, 2-4 Big Ten) travels to Iowa No. 7 on Thursday (9pm / FS1). A tougher test awaits the post-Spartans players at Lucca Garza, who are second in the country with 27.2 points per match.
Ezo and co-leader Joshua Langford and Aaron Henry said they need to watch the movie to better understand the cause of the crash. The best place to start, however, would be in the paint, as Izzo used a small lineup with junior strikers Joey Hauser and Malik Hall in the 8:10 final without substitution to attempt a 6–10, 265 lb Williams stop.
Novice striker from Detroit Academy Henry Ford via Chicago, Williams proved he was simply unstoppable in the second half. He scored 24 of his 26 points on 8 of 12 shots, grabbed seven of his nine rebounds and provided 8 of 10 free throws after the first half. And in the 3:19 final, against 6-9, 225lbs, 6-7 and 210lbs in Owner Hole in the paint, Williams scored 10 of Purdue’s last 12 points.
“If I’m honest with you, I think we’ve followed our game plan to the tee,” said Joshua Langford, the Michigan State University goalkeeper, who had 10 points. “Williams is an incredible player, so you have to expect him to get some kind of shots and some attacks. The biggest thing we wanted to do was try to contain him.”
Williams got a short break in the second half, and came back at 13:17 after scoring five points in an 8–0 score after Spartans converted a 15-point advantage in the first half to a 33-16 lead in the second half.
When Williams returned, MSU rebuilt his lead to nine in two free throws from Marcus Bingham Jr. But the big Bordeaux man got a tip through traffic, then made a foul at the 12:14 layup to play when Bingham tried to step up and help Jaden Ivey after a Watts Rocket lost his back foot and left the Boilermakers guards alone in the paint. He threw her to Williams, who ended up through the Bingham Connection.
Bingham, who had hit three shots in the first half, went to the bench well after that play.
“A week ago, you’d be asking what Bingham is doing in the game,” said Ezo, adding that he felt Bingham’s slender 6–11 and 215-pound build would have been a problem against the fat Williams. “I did what I did and it all fell on my shoulders, so blame me for that.”
Thomas Keither replaced Bingham and was away with Hall, who had played the last 13 minutes and more. In the backcourt together, Watts and Foster Lower made a spin during the prolonged drought of shooting at MSU. Then Williams sent Kithier deeply, and MSU striker’s elbow 6-8 back was his fourth foul. He, too, went to the bench forever.
Enter Julius Marble with 10:41 to go. Williams intimidated him with a three-point play. Exit the freshman with a leave of 8:10 and reduce the Spartans’ lead to 41-38.
Ezo never returned to any of his four spots, including rookie Maddy Sissoko, who had Williams grabbed a 1 of 2 on shots and two points in the first half. Sissoko sat in the final 15:17.
“I’m good at making critical decisions,” Ezzo said. “I’m not like half of the people – if I don’t make the right person, I’ll be ready for it; if I make the right choice, I’ll look at it in a movie and tell you why.”
Hauser and Hall were the rest over Williams, who scored 16 points at that point. They kept him without a basket for over 5 minutes, with 3 pointers from Hauser picking up 12 minutes or more without a field goal and keeping MSU ahead 48-43 with 3:42 to play.
Then Williams took over.
He split Hall and Hauser in order to throw the ball with 3:19 to play to dampen the momentum of the Spartans, then passed them over again with 2:28 to play. Williams supported Hauser’s foul and made the third mistake for Moscow for the juniors, with one of two free throws, then shot a pair to pull the 51-50 range with 1:21 to play after sending Hauser’s whistle again for the fourth time.
Aaron Henry split four defenders at Bordeaux on the ensuing possession to throw the ball with 1:01 left, pocketed, then split a pair of free throws with 19.1 to play. This is the final sequence mode.
The Spartans squad: Hauser and Hale at home, with Watts at the guard post alongside Henry and Langford in the backcourt. Watts, who finished the final at 1:13 after Iso sent AJ Hoggard to the bench, Byrdo player Eric Hunter Jr. missed 11.9 seconds before the match, then fell to the ground in the next pass that followed with 11.6 to play while the ball was nursing with it. Fingers out of bounds for a spin near Bordeaux basket.
Ezzo said he believes Watts may have made a mistake.
He said, “It seemed to me that they were behind him.” “I couldn’t see him, so I don’t know. I didn’t like the call at all.”
Henry just missed a rebound but made a foul on Williams, who made 1 out of 2, leaving 9.8. A loose ball then remained a tie between Hauser and Hunter with the Boilermakers. Matt Pinter called timeout 6.4 left, double screen in the middle of painting for Williams with Hall guarding him. Hall was cut off, Hauser was late to assist, and Williams buried the winning ball from the left block.
“I think in those past 20 seconds, they’ve played the effort,” said Henry, who scored 13 points but missed a runner at the end of the bell. “Some things went their way.”
Izzo’s explanations of his later squad’s moves included the following:
* “We didn’t feel comfortable with some of the other players.”
* “Joey did a good job with (Williams), to be honest, but then he got a fourth mistake. Malik was playing well.”
* “They turned some things on, and they made it from high to low. I thought there was a lot of push in both directions.”
* “Sometimes guys who are skinny – you have to remember, when Marky was there a lot (in the first half), Trevion wasn’t there much because he was in bad trouble. And Trifon is a burden.”
* “We were worried about the free throw shooting, and Madi and Marky are not good at throwing the free throw.”
Everything seemed to arrive for reasons. Partly because it was, in addition to trying to process a major fading advance and dispel a second consecutive defensive gem. MSU identified one of the Big Ten’s top 3-point shooting teams to 3 of 24 depths, including 0 for 12 in the first half, and maintained 33.9% of marksmanship overall.
Ezo said of his endgame strategy, “What we didn’t want to do was let go of the number 3, because we didn’t think they could keep hitting us with 2”.
Except that is exactly what Purdue did.