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The Dancing Bear's Recital: Michigan State 88, Oakland 57

If you're like me (and, admit it, you're at least a little bit like me), this is the kind of game that makes you want to go straight to the four-factors graph:


When this team wins the turnover battle and shoots 62.8% from 2-point range, it's generally going to win the game pretty comfortably.  MSU ran out to a 30-7 lead over the first 14 minutes of the game and coasted to a 31-point victory.  The Grizzlies looked like a team that wasn't functioning very smoothly coming into this game, and MSU made sure they never had a chance to find any kind of comfort level tonight.

If I were going to find a downside to this game, I'd point to these things:

  • Neither Chris Allen nor Raymar Morgan could get things going offensively.
  • A lot of the OU turnovers seemed like a function of their inability to make competent ball-handling moves more so than MSU's defense.  (12 steals for MSU.)
  • Ultimately, the MSU big men couldn't contain Keith Benson: 21 points on 7-15 FG shooting and 11 rebounds.  (He made some pretty good moves in the second half, though.)

Those are all fairly nitpicky issues, though.  Overall, this was a very efficient performance by the Spartans on both ends of the court (71 possessions), with Lucas and Green leading the way and a lot of guys making contributions off the bench.  Another small step toward this team gelling into a more cohesive unit.

Player bullets (official box score is here):

  • Draymond Green put on a show: 19 points on 9-11 FG shooting and 12 rebounds.  Good to have another mid-range scoring option when Morgan isn't hitting.
  • Kalin Lucas with another very efficient scoring game: 19 points on 11 FG attempts.  Up-to-the-minute shooting line for the season: .557/.429/.756.
  • Solid game for Delvon Roe: 11 points on 5-7 FG shooting and 6 rebounds.
  • Korie Lucious got the start and played well for the most part: 7 points, 4 assists, 2 TOs.  A few sloppy moments in the second half.
  • Only 4 points for Raymar Morgan.  Jumpshot has gone completely missing.  Frustrated by Benson's shot-blocking.  Chipped in 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.
  • Chris Allen only hit 1 of 5 three-point attempts, but made plays elsewhere: 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal.
  • Durrell Summers looked pretty good.  Didn't force things: 6 points and 3 rebounds.
  • Austin Thornton got some real PT tonight, entering the game with the first batch of subs: 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 10 minutes.  Both his jumpshots were ugly looking, though.
  • Garrick Sherman was good at moments and bad at others during his 10 minutes on the floor.  Nothing on the stat sheet to write home about.
  • Derrick Nix: Made a free throw!  Missed two others, though.  Free throw percentage stands at a whopping 8.7%.  Nice game all around: 5 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block in 12 minutes.  Played good defense when he was matched up against Benson.
  • The Kebler/Dahlman/Crandall/Herzog playing group finished the game off with style, outscoring the Grizzlies 9-7 in the final few minutes (with an OU 3-point play in the final seconds).  (Herzog's first-half appearance, on the other hand, was pretty miserable.  Picked up a foul and a turnover in one minute of play.)

Next up: It's the annual week-long basketball break for final exams.  The Spartans play next 9 days from now.  Noon on Saturday the 19th vs. IPFW.  At home.  Big Ten Network.

Gives us some time to focus on that big bowl game match-up.  And analyze legal charges.  You know, football talk.