Purdue, a disappointment much of the year, saved the season yesterday with a blistering 99-80 drubbing of Big Ten leader Michigan State.
Before the game , Purdue Coach Fred Schaus said Boilermakers' season had come down to this one game.
"If we lose, we're through," he said. The Boilermakers came out popping adn young and bewildered Michigan state never was really in the game.
It was only the fourth loss for the nationally ranked Spartans. They have 18 victories.
Purdue is back in the Big Ten race, only one game behind the first-place Spartans with five conferece games left.
"It was obviously a game we had to have," Schaus said, "and we really played like it."
Walter Jordan, who led Purdue with 26 points said, "I wish we could play like this all of the time.Nobody could have beaten us today."
The issue was decided in the first 10 minutes.
Michigan State looked like anything but the best team in the Big Ten. It turned the ball over nine times in its first 18 possessions and fired-up Purdue sped to a 30-10 lead.
Earvin Johnson, Michigan State's prize freshman, contributed four of those turnovers. He did settle down later and finished with 26 points, six assists, seven rebounds and three steals.
The smooth 6-foot-8 Jordan had 10 of his team's first 30 points and the Boilermakers never stumbled.
Michigan State Coach Jud Healthcote tried everthing imaginacle to get his team into game. He called four timeouts in the first eight minutes. The first two were efforts to stop Purdue's momentum and the last two to tongue lash his team.
he tried substituting and he tried going from a zone defense to a man-to-man defense. Nothing worked.
Finally, late in the first half, Bob Chapman hit a jumper and Johnson scored six straight points to cut the Purdue lead to 38-26. But the Boilkermakers answered with four straight points and Jordan sank a jumper at the buzzer to give them a 44-28 lead.
Everytime the Spartans made the slightest charge, Purdue smacked them down.
Michigan State began the second half with an 8-2 rush to cut the Purdue advantage to 10, but Purdue counteres with nine straight.
The Boilermakers scored 10 straight points midway through the period, four by guard Eugene Parker, to pull away to a 73-46 advantage.
"Trying to play catch up against Purdue is tough," Heathcote said. "We came out slow footed and they went right by us. By the time we got in it, we were out of it. We were 20 down before we could turn around.
Bob Chapman, normally a 50 percent shooter, who went 4-16 yesterday said, "I thought we were prepared. I guess we weren't. I started looking to our next game real quick."
Five Boilermakers scored in double figures with guard Jerry Sichting making six of seven from the field and adding five steals and three assists.
Purdue's record is 14-8.