WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — This could have been dangerous.
Instead, Michigan State made it look easy.
The Spartans were dialed it from the opening tip, hobbled as they were, and overwhelmed Purdue, 78-65, Saturday night.
MSU is a better team than Purdue, but with its starting backcourt in pain — Keith Appling wincing when anyone tugged on his right arm; Gary Harris still less than 100 percent with a bad back — and a looming showdown with Michigan, this could have been a trap.
But a trap game implies a lack of focus. And MSU, in that category, was terrific.
When Branden Dawson plays like this (20 points, 7-for-9 shooting) the Spartans have a chance to beat anyone.
Derrick Nix and Appling were terrific. Adreian Payne was effective, as well. Mostly, unlike a couple games ago against Illinois, MSU treated this game like pros.