OK, so I'm going to admit I didn't watch too much of this game. I was flipping back and forth between this and the hockey game against Michigan. It was a slow start, but MSU led New Orleans 44-27 at halftime, and the second half was a huge rout.
The basketball team played one of the worst teams in the nation, and the result was expected: a 101-48 final score against the Privateers, with the walk-ons sending Breslin into a frenzy (a frenzy, I tells you) with some late buckets.
MSU did everything well. New Orleans did everything poorly, including shooting 3-for-10 at the free-throw line. The Privateers had 14 offensive rebounds and 17 defensive rebounds.
MSU's 1.44 points per possession against New Orleans was their best since they last scored 100 vs Nebraska-Omaha in Dec. 2011.— Tim Conner (@connertp) December 28, 2013
Also of note, MSU held New Orleans to 32% (12-38) on two-pointers, blocking 6 of them.— Tim Conner (@connertp) December 28, 2013
Keith Appling - His best game of the season, scoring 27 points on 7-for-10 shooting (4-for-4 from 3) in 30 minutes. Also had eight assists to one turnover and one steal. A near-perfect performance, and a confidence-booster after the Texas struggles.
Gary Harris - Scored 19 points, but didn't need to rely on free throws this time (1-for-1). Shot 7-for-17, including 4-for-11 from long range. He missed four threes in the early minutes, still appearing to show some rust and trouble from 3-point range. He went 3-for-6 on 2s. Harris did grab nine rebounds, including a team-high five on the offensive end.
Adreian Payne - A quieter performance, scoring 17 points on 7-for-11, all inside the arc. He also had seven rebounds and two blocks.
Denzel Valentine - Another terrific rebounding performance for Valentine, with a career-high 13 boards, including 10 on the defensive end. He completed the double-double with 10 points on 4-for-9 shooting. He went just 2-for-5 on 2s, continuing to struggle to finish at the rim, at times. He had six assists and just two turnovers in 28 minutes.
Alex Gauna - Scored six points on 3-for-3 shooting and had five rebounds (two offensive) in 10 minutes, but there's a reason he only played 10 minutes.
Next up: Big Ten opener at Penn State on New Year's Eve at 5 p.m. Expect a raucous environment.