EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- With 16th-ranked Michigan State struggling against Purdue in the second half, junior guard Maurice Ager took over.
Ager scored 17 of his season-high 22 points over the final eight minutes as the Spartans held on for a 71-64 victory over the Boilermakers in a Big Ten Conference contest.
Just under three minutes into the second half, Paul Davis' layup gave Michigan State its biggest lead, 40-27. But Purdue (4-10, 0-5 Big Ten) battled back, answering with a 15-3 run over the next eight-plus minutes to reduce the deficit to 43-42. Carl Landry scored 10 points during that stretch.
"They really hung in there and we couldn't get the stops we needed in a row," Spartans guard Chris Hill said. "But when it really mattered in the last two minutes, we did get some stops and put it away.
After the run, Ager capped a fastbreak with a thunderous one-handed dunk and hit consecutive 3-pointers to single-handedly outscore the Boilermakers, 8-3, over the next 80 seconds.
"I thought (Maurice Alger) did a great job of bouncing back in the second half," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "He was sicker than a dog before the game. I don't know if it was nervous sickness or the other."
With Michigan State (11-3, 3-1) clinging to a 62-59 with 71 seconds to play, Ager buried his third 3-pointer to give some breathing room to the Spartans.
After a tough 62-59 loss at Wisconsin on Sunday, Michigan State bounced back, shooting 51 percent (24-of-47) against Purdue while improving their record to 10-0 at the Breslin Center this season.
"I don't use Wisconsin as an excuse, it's a reality," Izzo said. "We not only had a tough loss, we were beaten up a little bit and if you put all those things together, it was a tough game."
Shannon Brown scored 13 points in the first half to lead Michigan State, which used a 12-2 run over the final 4:55 to take a 36-27 lead into the break. He scored a career-high 20 points, including six consecutive free throws in the final 50 seconds, and grabbed nine rebounds for Michigan State.
"There is no question, Shannon is starting to get better and better as he moves better without the ball," Izzo said. "What I like that he did tonight was his rebounding. He just went out and got the ball tonight; he went out and got them on the rim. He ran the lanes very well."
Landry, who was 11-of-12 from the field, scored 22 of his career-high 31 points in the second half for the Boilermakers, who have an 0-5 record in the Big 10 for the first time since the 1962-63 season.
"I think when he starts to play with the same mindset on defense as he does on offense, we're going to be a lot better," Purdue coach Gene Keady said. "The sky's the limit if he can do that. But he had a tremendous game offensively. The kid got the ball and went 11-of-12 and you can't ask much more.
David Teague added 13 points, but was just 6-of-10 from the foul line as Purdue hit just 55 percent (16-of-29) from the stripe while losing its fifth straight contest.