WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue power forward Caleb Swanigan and 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas continue to make a case for being the nation's most productive 1-2 interior punch. In No. 16 Purdue's 80-63 victory over Michigan State in Mackey Arena on Saturday, Swanigan had 24 points and 15 rebounds, and Haas added 18 points and five rebounds. The pair combined to make 15 of 23 field-goal attempts and 11 of 12 free throws against the Spartans. In Tuesday's victory against Rutgers, Haas had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Swanigan added 12 points and 17 rebounds. The Boilermakers (22-5, 11-3 in the Big Ten) took a half-game lead in the conference over Maryland and Wisconsin, each of whom is 10-3. The double-double was Swanigan's 23rd this season. He had 25 points and 17 rebounds in Purdue's 84-73 victory at Michigan State (16-11, 8-6) on Jan. 24. He also set a school single-season rebounding record with 352. "Obviously, our size has been a big factor," said Haas, who is 17 of 22 from the field in Purdue's two most recent games. "We're just keeping it simple and scoring when it's one-on-one in the post and passing when we are double teamed. "They weren't really doubling today, and me and Caleb had a great night in the low post. They've got to respect our shooters at some point, so they had to give up something." It is the first time since the 1996-97 season that the Boilermakers swept a two-game, regular-season series from the Spartans. "The reason our bigs are playing so well right now is their decision making," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "With Swanigan, passing is his greatest asset other than his rebounding. And he is so good right now because he is keeping it simple. "With Isaac, it's the same, just keeping it simple. He also is becoming more objective about his own game, realizing some of his mistakes. I love playing them together, but today, I also needed Vince Edwards in the game to guard Miles Bridges. It's a nice problem to have." When Spartans big men Nick Ward and Kenny Goins got into foul trouble, Swanigan and Haas had easy paths to the basket. "That's just the way we play," Swanigan said. "We always feed the ball inside. We look to score. In the post is the hardest place to play defense because we are close to the basket. We tried to take advantage of that." Bridges led Michigan State with 14 points. He scored 33 against Purdue in the Jan. 24 game. The Spartans lost senior guard Eron Harris because of a leg injury with 9:18 remaining, He was taken to the locker room on a stretcher. After the game, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said the injury is believed to be a sprained right knee, but an MRI will reveal more details. "He will be out for a while, yet we don't know how long," Izzo said. "It's so sad. That kid has been playing his tail off." Consecutive three-point plays by Vince Edwards and Carsen Edwards -- no relation -- gave Purdue a 45-29 lead with 18:04 remaining, and the Boilermakers were not seriously threatened again. "I told Matt before the game that they might be playing the most consistent basketball in not only the Big Ten but in the country," Izzo said. "Their defense is getting better. The last four or five games, they really have turned that up. We tried to double team them a little bit in the second half, but we were just giving up so many open shots." Purdue closed the first half on a 15-6 run in the last 7:51 to lead 37-26 through 20 minutes, shooting 57.7 percent from the field (15 of 26) and outrebounding Michigan State 15-13. Swanigan had 11 points, six rebounds and two assists in the first half, Haas had eight points and three rebounds and Vince Edwards added seven points in the half and finished with 12. Alvin Ellis III had two 3-pointers for six points to lead the Spartans in the opening half, during which they shot 40.7 percent (11 of 27), including only 4 of 13 from beyond the arc. Purdue outscored Michigan State 20-10 in points in the paint in the opening 20 minutes and 8-4 in points as the result of turnovers. NOTES: In Big Ten Conference games only, Michigan State came in leading the league in field goal percentage (48.3) and was second in 3-point field goal percentage (40.0). ... During the last nine games, Spartan F Miles Bridges is averaging 18.3 points and 8.7 rebounds. ... Before Saturday's game, Michigan State had won two in a row and four of five. ... The Spartans came to Purdue having won three of their four most recent games in Mackey Arena. ... The Boilermakers now have won five consecutive Big Ten games for the first time since the 2010-2011 season. ... If Purdue defeats Indiana on Feb. 28 in Mackey Arena, it will finish 8-1 in Big Ten home games for a third consecutive season. ... Boilermakers coach Matt Painter improved to 9-13 all-time in matchups with Michigan State's Tom Izzo.
No. 16 Purdue mows down Michigan State
The Sports Xchange | Feb 18