To pay my blogging penance, I watched the full game on videotape this afternoon. Here’s the rest of the game recap:
Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the current nine-game winning streak is how everyone in the playing rotation seems to be finding their respective roles. Eleven players played significant minutes yesterday, and all of them contributed positively in at least a small way.
- Kalin Lucas: 22 points on 11 FG attempts. Lucas remains sizzling hot: 3-4 on three-pointers. Discussion question: Why do Lucas’ assists go down so dramatically (just one yesterday) when his scoring goes up?
- Travis Walton: Found his shooting stroke again, scoring 11 points on 5-8 shooting. Could be even more of a force on defense if he’d stop using his hands so much and picking up ticky-tack fouls when he’s in good defensive position. Helped force Sherron Collins into making 8 turnovers (six in Kansas’ 18-point first half).
- Raymar Morgan: A workmanlike 13 points and 8 rebounds. More so than any other MSU player, Morgan has found the sweetspot of his role in the offense.
- Delvon Roe: 5 points and 5 rebounds in 17 minutes. How about that catch on the fast break under the basket late in the second half?
- Goran Suton: Despite issues caused by sushi and/or calamari, contributed 6 points and 7 rebounds in 22 minutes. Isn’t it nice to have a big guy who can consistently knock down the perimeter shot again?
- Chris Allen: He’s struggling with his shot right now, as he missed his first four 3-point attempts. But he bounced back to hit his final attempt, which effectively ended the game. Allen didn’t force things much, playing within the offense and leading the team with 3 assists. Noticed a couple defensive lapses that led to open 3-point looks for Kansas, though. (One advantage of watching a game on tape: the rewind button.)
- Idong Ibok: Played 14 minutes of solid defense, flustering Cole Aldrich in the first half and taking the Jayhawks out of their comfort zone. Two blocked shots. And his ball-handing was solid; he finished with two assists.
- Durrell Summers: 4 points and 3 rebounds in 13 minutes. Nice finish on an alley-oop from Allen.
- Korie Lucious: 5 points and 2 assists in 11 minutes. Committed two turnovers, but one was in the last minute with the shot clock running down. Is it a coincidence that Walton’s offensive touch returned with Lucious getting the bulk of the back-up point guard minutes? Giving Lucious 10-12 minutes puts a squeeze on minutes for perimeter players, with Morgan playing more at the 3 than at the 4 now, but I think it’s the way to go.
- Marquise Gray: 4 rebounds in 9 minutes. He’s disappeared on offense, but he should get 10 to 15 minutes if continues to rebound and play decent defense.
- Draymond Green: 3 points and 2 rebounds in 7 minutes. Nice jumpshot with the shot clock running down in the second half.
It’s nice to come out on top in an Ed Hightower special, with a total of 55 fouls called. MSU shot 26 for 35 from the free throw line (74.3%), while Kansas shot just 17 of 28 (60.7%).
Kansas couldn’t find any scoring outside of Aldrich (14) and Collins (25). The rest of the Jayhawks combined for just 23 points. MSU played solid, straight-up man-to-man defense. And they limited Kansas’ second-chance points, holding a very good offensive rebounding team to just 7 offensive rebounds in 36 opportunities (DefReb%=80.3%).
With three road games in our first four Big Ten games, this win provided a good chance to win a game on our home court, feeding off the energy of the crowd. And it was a great showcase game for the program on national TV against one of the all-time elite basketball programs in the country.
Next up: At Penn State Wednesday night. Eat your dinner early. It’s a 6:30 tip-off on BTN.
The two teams who finished in the top two spots in last year’s Big Ten standings clashed in West Lafayette this afternoon. The Boilermakers earned a 65-52 win in a 55-possession game, beating Wisconsin in all four statistical aspects of the game:
From a short-term perspective, this leaves MSU as the only Big Ten team undefeated in conference play. So that’s a good thing. From a longer-term perspective, though, there are reasons to think both Purdue and Wisconsin are still in positions to be serious threats in the conference title race.
With Robbie Hummel and Chris Kramer back on the court, Purdue looked every bit the team that was picked as the preseason conference favorite. They played their brand of lock-down defense and unselfish offense for 40 minutes. And Jujuan Johnson gave them the inside presence they need, scoring 20 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Purdue has dug itself an early hole in the conference race, but if they remain at full health, this game proves they have the ability to dig themselves out of it.
Wisconsin, meanwhile, continued to have problems scoring points against quality teams. The best statistical indicator of the Badgers’ struggle to create good offensive situations is that they shot only 6 free throws. Early in the game, Wisconsin regularly tried to run its swing offense, but Purdue was too disciplined to get beat by it. With the shot clock running down, this Wisconsin team doesn’t have the same kind of playmaker past squads have had to manufacture a good shot. The two potential go-to guys, Trevon Hughes and Marcus Landry, combined to shoot just 6 of 26 from the field today.
Nevertheless, there aren’t that many elite defensive teams in the Big Ten this year: Purdue, Illinois, and (maybe) MSU. Wisconsin will win nearly all their games against teams with less disciplined defenses and will be a factor at some point in the conference race.
Sunday Night Links
- Tom Izzo Wired for Sound on CBS
Ironically, I’m not sure the coach sounds all that different than the rest of us do during games; it’s just that no one listens to the rest of us.
- Weekly Watch: Cal, MSU’s Lucas take home honors
Kalin Lucas gets props from Andy Katz. (Hat tip: MooTheKow)
- Now Accepting Basket-BlogPoll Applications
Brian Cook, AKA The Godfather of college sports bloggers, is expanding his operation.
- Why did I start StatSheet? a video…
I’m late on this–too late for you to vote in his support–but kudos to Robbie on his Crunchie nomination.
- A win is a win is a win, and the Gophers won
Very cool surprise for From the Barn: A shout-out on national TV from Mr. Doug Gottlieb Thursday night. I guess you never know who might be reading these dispatches from our mothers’ basements.
I need to go on vacation more often:
That’s an all-time high in page views for the Spartans Weblog over the past seven days–already surpassing the final week of last season’s NCAA Tournament run. Thanks to everyone for staying tuned this week, despite the fact that I only ended up seeing about one-third of the past three MSU games live and relied more on you guys than you could rely on me. The good news is I now have no excuse not to be fully rested for a great stretch drive of blogging and, knock on wood, Big Ten title-level basketball from our Spartans.