WEST LAFAYETTE – Kendal Stephens is turning the freshman wall into a myth.
Purdue's youthful guard is peaking when it matters most. He had a career-high 19 points in Thursday night's 94-79 loss against No. 13 Michigan State. He was 4-for-5 from three-point range and 7-for-8 from the line.
He's averaged 17.0 points in his last three games, well above his season average of 7.5 points.
That wasn't nearly enough against Michigan State, which moved into the outright Big Ten lead with an 11-3 record, 22-5 overall. The Boilers are 15-11 and 5-8.
The Spartans were 17-for-32 from three-point range.
Here are some of Stephens' thoughts:
On Michigan State's hot shooting:
“It's frustrating. You can't trade baskets with anyone in the Big Ten, especially Michigan State. That's how we got beat. They beat us in transition. Trying to out-shoot them isn't going to win you games.”
On his increasing role and minutes:
“I try to be ready off the bench. Do my role. Do whatever it takes for the team to win.”
On his hot shooting:
“I was making some shots. That helped us get into a flow. It was one of my better shooting games. It's frustrating – especially on the defensive end. We're a better team than that. All that scoring, it doesn't mean anything to me.”