Monday, 20 August, 2018

Iowa braces for trip to surprising Ohio State

Michigan State forward Nick Ward celebrates in the bench area at the end of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Iowa Tuesday Feb. 6 2018 in Iowa City Iowa. Michigan State won 96-93 Boiler Down: No. 14 Ohio State stuns No. 3 Purdue, 64-63, in Mackey Arena
Isaac Mcdaniel | 11 February, 2018, 05:13

Miles Bridges trolled ESPN analyst Dan Dakich after hitting a big shot for Michigan State on Saturday. Bridges was good enough Saturday afternoon to make it work anyway.

"If we take care of the ball a little better, box out a few more times, box out those loose balls, we don't have to worry about those guys making shots".

"I just took what he gave me", Bridges said of the Purdue defender who faded away from him ever so slightly in the closing seconds of a neck-and-neck Big Ten fistfight Saturday. "I'll just jack a 3.' And it worked out". There are five players who have the green light to shoot 3-pointers ... and all five can be deadly.

Ohio State earned not only a win in conference play over Iowa with a final score of 82-64, but they also got their revenge in front of a sellout crowd.

What's been the difference for Sparty this year has been the addition to Jaren Jackson, and the emergence of point guard Cassius Winston. Bridges said it was the kind of moment that brought him back to East Lansing for a second season when he could have waltzed off to the National Basketball Association following an impressive freshman showing.

Throughout this season, Purdue has been among the country's most efficient offenses. His encore hasn't been exactly as dominant or as smooth as some might have imagined.

Boilermakers coach on Spartans sophomore's "tough" 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left, which was the winning basket in a 68-65 MSU victory. The problem is the blueprint: Michigan State was the latest team to draw up the plan, and the first to follow it for 40 minutes and have it pay off, and you can believe this: More teams will follow that trail. The game stayed close the rest of the way, but the Hokies opened a 49-45 lead on Devin Wilson's backdoor bucket off a pass from Kerry Blackshear Jr. with 1:17 left.

Purdue, meanwhile, suffered a loss at home on Wednesday to the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes can claim a title in their first season under Chris Holtmann by winning out.

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Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion will be a frequent destination for the Boilermakers over the next six weeks.

If Purdue wins, it would drop the Spartans two games back in the race.

"I've played him in the past so I know what to expect and this was a must-win game for us", Schilling said.

After this game, a showcase of two potential Final Four teams that came down to the final seconds, Painter didn't sound concerned. "We put ourselves in that position for those to affect us. Miles Bridges made a hell of a play". Iowa is a better team than the one Ohio State played in Iowa City last month, and a team that plays with pace can get some things going against the Buckeyes.

The fourth-ranked Spartans will host No. 3 Purdue at the Breslin Center. Michigan State snagged the rebound and the celebration ensued. After spending some time there, Izzo moved to East Lansing, where he would be an assistant under the great Jud Heathcote for over a decade.

Before Bridges chose to freelance on his final shot, things did more or less go according to plan for the Spartans. Haas had 25 points, but took 22 shots to get there and wasn't able to get his last one to fall.

Three other Ohio State players - JaeSean Tate (12.7), C.J. Jackson (12.5) and Kaleb Wesson (10.8) - are scoring in double figures. Bridges didn't need any more than a foul shot to propel his team to a victory.

For a day at least, it worked out. Instead of trying to get himself to the line, he chose to trust his instincts and do something other than what was expected. He didn't think much about what would happen if it didn't. "But chances make champions".

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