Michigan State beat the slow-start knock tonight, jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first 4 minutes of the game. After MSU built a 17-point lead with 5 minutes to go in the first half, the Mastodons made a mini-run going into halftime to get the lead to 7 points. IPFW's run was fueled by three 3-pointers in the final 3 minutes of the first half. Outside of those 3 minutes, though IPFW only hit 4 other shots from beyond arc; they were 7-27 on 3-point attempts for the game.
All in all, it was a pretty solid performance by the Spartans coming off the finals-week break:
MSU outperformed IPFW in all four factors. The one area of relative weakness was rebounding. Led by Deilvez Yearby's 15 rebounds (5 on offense), the Mastadons kept the battle on the boards pretty even. That (among other things) is a concern going into Tuesday's game agains the Longhorns, who bring a lot more beef to the table than the Mastodons did (more on that below).
Player bullets (official box score is here):
- Balanced scoring attack today. Delvon Roe and Raymar Morgan led the way with 14 points each, but 9 Spartans scored at least 5 points.
- Roe looked particularly comfortable on offense today, making 5 of 7 FG attempts and all 4 of his shots from the free throw line. Also chipped in 8 rebounds and 2 steals. We're going to need him at his best against Dexter Pittman.
- Neither Chris Allen nor Durrell Summers got into a good rhythm today: 15 points combined on 3-11 FG shooting Allen was out of sorts on defense, too, picking up 4 fouls.
- Four turnovers for Korie Lucious in 22 minutes. Too sloppy.
- Morgan struggled a bit in guarding Yearby (25 points on 21 FG attempts), eventually fouling out. That's a concern going into the presumed individual match-up with Damion James. Good night on offense, though: 5-7 FG shooting, 4 assists (all in that opening run, interestingly enough).
- [Repeat bullet alert] Draymond Green stuffs the stat sheet: 6 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists (!), 1 turnover, 5 steals (!).
- Relatively quiet game for Kalin Lucas: 10 points, 5 assists.
- Garrick Sherman with the best game of his career to date: 8 points and 2 rebounds in 8 minutes. I really don't understand why he's not getting more minutes in games like these, considering that we're going to need him to play substantial minutes against conference opponents with two legitimate big men. After playing 3 minutes to start the game, he only played another 5 minutes over the remaining 37 minutes of game time.
- Very good team free throw shooting performance today: 20-25 -- 19-21 if you remove Derrick Nix's (for him, relatively good) 1-4 shooting line.
So MSU somehow managed to dominate the game statistically even though I wasn't (apparently) all that impressed with many of the individual player performances. Two reasons for that, I suppose. First, this was a 74-possession game, so MSU was better on defense than they were on offense, Second, I'm writing this recap after having watched our next opponent rack up 103 points against the University of North Carolina Tarheels. (12 offensive rebounds for Dexter Pittman?! Gulp.) MSU's going to need a more complete performance Tuesday night, with more than just 3-4 players showing up on offense and the entire playing rotation showing up on defense.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. MSU played well enough to win comfortably today. We'll wait at least 24 hours before talking (in any more detail than I already have) about the discomfort Tuesday night's opponent is likely to cause.
Up Next: The Texas Longhorns. In Austin. 7:00 Tuesday night. ESPN2.
P.S. In other dispirting results elsewhere in the country, our one quality win took a bit of a hit today, with Gonzaga laying a huge egg in Madison Square Garden (although it sure looked like Matt Bouldin's recent concussion was a major factor in the egg-laying.)
P.P.S. Major positive in Breslin Center happenings today: William Gholston decked in green and white, sitting next to Mark Dantonio in the stands.