The Spartans slide by the Mastadons 70-59 in a 62-possession game. (PPP: 1.13-0.95)
Bad News: MSU trailed a mediocre Summit League team with less than 11 minutes left in the game.
Good News: Raymar Morgan came up big in crunch time of a road game, scoring 8 points in a 13-0 MSU run to take a double-digit lead.
With none of us having seen the game, it’s hard to weigh those two things against each other. All we have to go by are the comments of people who were present. Tom Izzo thought the freshmen “saved us.” Joe Rexrode called the team “sluggish” and agreed that Draymond Green was a key player in the second half.
Beyond that, all we have is the box score:
- IPFW obviously was able to slow the game down, keeping it to 62 possessions. They kept the game tight on the strenght of their shooting, making 50.0% of their 2-point attempts and 38.9% of their 3-point attempts. It appears those shots were generated mostly off individual playmaking, as they recorded only 6 assists on 23 field goal makes.
- MSU’s statistical strength was on the boards, as they pulled down 84.6% of available defensive rebounds and 40.0% of available offensive rebounds. Goran Suton led the way with 4 offensive rebounds and 6 defensive rebounds. (Note that you can get a breakdown of the four tempo-free factors in the “Stat of the Day” feature at the top left corner of the site; click on the “+” sign.)
- Raymar Morgan had his second consecutive 20-point game, scoring 22 points on 7-9 two-point shooting.
- Kalin Lucas had 17 points on 12 FG attempts, along with 3 assists vs. 1 turnover. Morgan and Lucas combined to get to the free throw line 20 times.
- Delvon Roe scored 9 points in 17 minutes in his second official game as a Spartan. He also chipped in two blocked shots.
- Marquise Gray follows up a solid performance vs. Idaho with a zero-point/two-rebound stat line in only 6 minutes of play.
- Izzo used 11 players, with Green and Austin Thornton joining the 9 guys we thought would make up the core rotation.
I don’t think we need to be too alarmed about the way this game went down. You can’t take any road game for granted, and Izzo needs a few opportunities to keep the team humble and continue to push them to get better. If anything, I’m concerned that they apparently struggled to score in the half court against a team determined to slow the game down. We’re going to face a few of those teams in Big Ten play. MSU will need to figure out how to use its athleticism to create scoring opportunities when the transition game isn’t an option.
Izzo now has a full week to get the team ready to play three games in four days against quality opposition in Orlando. Maryland is up first on Thanksgiving night (7:00; ESPN2).
P.S. Jamil Wilson decided not to sign with anyone ($) during the early signing period (which ended yesterday).