Published January 05, 2013
| Sports Network
East Lansing, MI – Freshman Gary Harris scored a career-high 22 points to lead five Michigan State players in double figures, as the 18th- ranked Spartans pulled away in the second half of Saturday's 84-61 victory over Purdue.
Branden Dawson had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Michigan State (12-3, 1-1 Big Ten), which bounced back from Monday's conference-opening loss at No. 9 Minnesota.
"Even though I'm excited about the win, I think we beat a good team, but we're still not playing like we need to play if we're going to make any type of noise in this conference," said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.
Travis Trice contributed 12 points, Denzel Valentine scored 11 and Derrick Nix added 10 for the Spartans, who won their 11th straight Big Ten home opener.
Keith Appling, Michigan State's leading scorer at 14.9 points per game, finished with only six but recorded a season-high eight assists.
A.J. Hammons matched a personal best with 20 points for the Boilermakers (7-7, 1-1), who were denied in their attempt to pull off a second consecutive upset.
Terone Johnson scored a career-high 25 points as Purdue beat 11th-ranked Illinois Wednesday to extend its winning streak to three games. The junior guard struggled against Michigan State, finishing with 11 points on 5-of-19 shooting.
"For (Johnson) it looks a little unconventional sometimes, his shots, but he makes those runners, and those floaters and we want him to be as aggressive as possible, but don't take on the world. If you draw two or three people, make that extra pass," said Purdue coach Matt Painter.
The final score was not indicative of how close these teams were in the early stages of the second half.
Down six at halftime, Purdue reclaimed the lead by opening the frame on a 9-2 surge, with a Hammons free throw making it 39-38.
Clinging to a two-point lead at 43-41, the Spartans took control with a 16-2 burst. A Dawson layup put Michigan State up 59-43 with 9:10 remaining and the advantage reached 66-46 on one of Harris' six 3-pointers. Harris hit 6-of-8 shots from beyond the arc.
Purdue kept pace with Michigan State as a Johnson steal led to a D.J. Byrd putback that tied the game at 19-19 midway through the first half. Hammons nailed a jumper to put the visitors up 26-25, but the Spartans responded with a 7-0 run and took a 36-30 lead into the break.
Izzo (424) became the third-winningest coach in Big Ten history. He had been tied with Lou Henson ... Michigan State improved to 10-0 at the Breslin Center this season ... Byrd had 14 points ... Purdue connected on just 9-of-20 free throws ... The Boilermakers have lost four in a row to the Spartans.