The Spartans bounce the Colonials 77-62 in a 65-possession game. StatSheet box score.
The Kenpom prediction was a scoreline of 73-60, so the game result was in line with statistical expectations. Robert Morris kept things close early by knocking down some 3-pointers, but eventually MSU’s size and athleticism were too much for the Colonials to handle. Michigan State used a 21-point run spanning halftime to put the game out of reach with roughly 15 minutes to go.
The four factor graph shows MSU’s dominance on the boards and getting the ball inside to create situations in which the Colonials had to foul:
Five players hit double digits in scoring:
- Raymar Morgan scored 16 points on 7-14 FG shooting. He came out aggressively in the game and looks like he’s fully back to being the player he was before his illness.
- Draymond Green also scored 16, converting 7 of 8 FG attempts. Green took advantage of RMU’s small lineup to score in multiple ways around the basket.
- Kalin Lucas had 13 points, knocking down his only 3-point attempt and hitting all 4 of his free throw attempts.
- Goran Suton was a man among boys: 11 points and 17 rebounds. He would have hit the 20-rebound mark if Izzo hadn’t pulled the starters with 5-6 minutes left.
- Chris Allen scored 10 points on 2-4 three-point shooting. Exactly the kind of game we need out of him; now the question is whether he can do it in back-to-back games.
Travis Walton did his usual number on the opponent’s top perimeter scorer, holding Jeremy Chappell to 11 points on 14 FG attempts (which was still the team high for RMU).
A positive resulting from putting the game effectively out of reach early in the second half is that no MSU player had to play more than 25 minutes. Despite winning by 17, USC played three of its players for the full 40 minutes and a fourth player for 36 minutes. Hopefully, that creates an advantage 40 hours from now.
Tonight’s win was a workmanlike effort–exactly the kind of performance you want as a high seed in the first round of the tournament. It’s encouraging that multiple players contributed throughout the game. Ten players played at least 11 minutes. To make a deep run, we’re going to need productive minutes throughout the playing rotation.
Next up: An all-Greek affair, as the Spartans battle the Trojans on Sunday. Game time is 5:00 p.m. I’ll try to get a game preview up tomorrow, but it probably won’t be until late in the day.
P.S. For what it’s worth, only three of the top eight seeds in the Midwest region remain alive. Of course, those three teams are the top three seeds: Louisville, MSU, and Kansas.