Tuesday's win against Iowa in Iowa City went to overtime which, in hindsight, should've been seen as an indicator that the Spartans should not be favored by eight against a Georgetown squad playing fairly close to D.C.
The first half was ugly as both the Spartans and Hoya combined for 19 turnovers. While Georgetown seemed limited only by their ability to hold onto the ball, MSU seemed to lack an energy as they settled for three point shots. When those fall, great, but they didn't this afternoon -- Meanwhile, the Hoyas continued to get boards on the offensive end, offsetting their turnovers. At the end of the half it seemed a wonder that Michigan State led.
In the second half Georgetown reduced their turnovers, and MSU was in trouble. The erratic shooting continued from both outside and the free throw line, and no one would or could post up. While the defense played well, the rebounding still failed the Spartans' which led to enough second chances for the Hoyas -- second chances which, combined with the Spartans' mediocre shooting and lethargic rebounding, could not overcome, as they suffered their third loss of the season. Hand it to Georgetown -- they've been short-handed just like Michigan State has, but they played with much more energy and purpose, and throughly deserved the win.
Here's the four factors graph:
The two big things (which were hard to not see) -- the Hoyas' dominance on the offensive boards, and Georgetown's ability to get to the free throw line. I don't think this game was officiated too unfairly -- Georgetown would drive, Michigan State shied away from it. The inside game is where MSU lost; at times Costello, Schilling, Gauna and company were too far out to either back into the basket or effectively rebound off the offensive glass.
And here's your player bullets:
- Gary Harris - The only player who kept the Spartans in the game in the second half, despite being in foul trouble throughout the game. 20 points on 4-10 shooting from three, but going 2-5 from the free throw line hurt. This isn't the first time he's felt pressure at the line; hopefully he gets that fixed with more reps.
- Kenny Kaminski - One positive from this game is that the good Kenny was back, he went 3-6 from three for 10 points total and contributed five rebounds.
- Denzel Valentine - A mixed line, as he contributed 11 points on 2-5 shooting from three, and led Michigan State in rebounds (8) and turnovers (6). He's still learning.
- Keith Appling - His six assists to two turnovers were good, but the Spartans needed more than the seven points he contributed tonight.
- Travis Trice - Zero points, zero assists, three turnovers. I think the problem's more mental than anything else at this point.