By NOAH TRISTER/AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Freshman Gary Harris scored a season-high 22 points, and No. 18 Michigan State used a 28-7 run in the second half to pull away for an 84-61 victory over Purdue on Saturday.
The Spartans (12-3, 1-1 Big Ten) missed their first 10 shots from the field after halftime, but it didn’t much matter in what quickly became a free throw contest. Michigan State finished 18 of 22 from the line, and the Boilermakers were 9 of 20 – including 6 of 16 in the second half.
Branden Dawson had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Spartans, who bounced back from a loss at Minnesota in their conference opener.
A.J. Hammons scored 20 points for Purdue. The Boilermakers (7-7, 1-1) were coming off a win over No. 11 Illinois.
Harris, whose mother Joy was a standout at Purdue before playing for the WNBA’s Detroit Shock, went 6 of 8 from 3-point range. His previous scoring high was 20 points against Loyola last month.
Purdue shot 39 percent from the field, and Michigan State wasn’t much better at 45 percent. That gave two of the Big Ten’s most aggressive rebounding teams plenty of chances to fight over missed shots. The Spartans finished with 13 offensive rebounds to Purdue’s 11.
The Boilermakers trailed 43-41 early in the second half when Anthony Johnson and Michigan State’s Travis Trice collided while Johnson drove to the basket. The play was ruled a foul on Trice, but a dead ball technical foul was called on Johnson.
Trice made the only two free throws to come out of that exchange, and the decisive run was under way.
Derrick Nix added two more free throws, and Dawson’s layup – Michigan State’s first field goal of the half – made it 49-41. When the Boilermakers did get to the free throw line, they didn’t convert enough.
A 3-pointer by Harris – the Spartans’ second field goal of the half – pushed the lead to 57-43.
It was 66-46 after another 3-pointer by Harris, and Michigan State led by as many as 23 points.
Purdue went on an 8-0 run to cut into the lead, but Harris halted that with a 3-pointer.
The Boilermakers were trying for their fourth straight 2-0 start in the Big Ten. Terone Johnson, who scored 25 points against Illinois, had 11 against Michigan State on 5-of-19 shooting. D.J. Byrd scored 14 points for Purdue.
Michigan State led 36-30 at halftime thanks to Harris and Trice, who combined for 19 points and 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.
The teams combined to shoot 36 free throws in the second half after only six in the first.
In its previous visit to East Lansing, Purdue lost by almost the same score, falling 83-58 last January.
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