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It's All About Poise: Michigan State 69, The Citadel 56

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Game Thread Comment of the Night:

Generally you want teams to take the 25-footer
by Con-T on Dec 7, 2009 5:32 PM PST

The Citadel players didn't seem to mind taking their shots from 25 feet out for most of the game, knocking down their first 7 three-point attempts, 8 of 10 attempts in the first half, and 12 of 20 for the game.  No Bulldog player who attempted a 3-pointer shot less than 50% from 3-point range.  There were a few MSU defensive lapses leading to open looks (the worst being an attempted defensive switch by Chris Allen on a nonscreen situation), but there were more quick-release shots by Bulldog players from 3+ feet behind the line.

There's only so much a defense can do against a team hitting almost every shot they take from beyond the arc.  If you extend the defense beyond the 3-point line, you'll give up points in the lane (or more 3-pointers on kick-outs).  Example: Late in the game Zach Urbanus (who hit his first 4 three-point attempts), pump faked his man 6 feet behind the 3-point line and drove toward the basket to knock down a mid-range floater.

Instead, MSU played good interior defense, limiting The Citadel to a 2-point shooting percentage of just 25.0% (7-28; 3-15 if you remove Cameron Wells from the equation).  Meanwhile, they kept the turnover battle close (22.2% to 16.7%) and dominated on the boards (52.2% to 25.0%).

Offensively, the MSU players shot the ball very efficiently, making 56.3% of 2-point attempts, 50.0% of 3-point attempts, and 64.3% of 28 free throw attempts.  It's no small feat to post a better eFG% than an opponent that makes 60.0% of its 3-point attempts.

 

So I'm going to chalk this game up as a success: A poised, efficient performance (1.28 PPP in just 54 possessions) in a raucous road venue against a team that was unconscious from 3-point range for 30 minutes.

Player bullets (official box score is here):

  • Kalin Lucas played like the Big Ten POY tonight: 17 points on 6-9 FG shooting and 6 assists (4 turnovers, though).  A couple absolute daggers down the stretch.  Super-smooth behind-the-back layup on the fast break.
  • Raymar Morgan was fairly quiet after the first few minutes but finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Very good game from Delvon Roe: 9 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 2 steals, 1 block.  Very active defense against the perimeter-based Bulldog attack.  Good aggressiveness attacking the basket on offense.
  • This qualifies as a quiet Draymond Green performance: 9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 1 block.
  • Combined 12-16 FT shooting from Roe and Green.  We'll take it.
  • Chris Allen: Good when shooting ball (9 points on 6 FGA), bad when driving into traffic (4 turnovers).
  • Durrell Summers was the invisible man: zero points and 2 rebounds in 19 minutes.  Not exactly the tempo he likes to play at, but we're going to need a lot more than this out of him in Big Ten play.
  • More Garrick Sherman, please: 4 points in 8 minutes on a couple nifty moves going to the basket.  Tom Izzo seems resigned to playing Roe and Green close to 30 minutes each up front, but I don't see how we get through the entire season with that plan.  Morgan's better at the 3 spot than the 4.  Sherman needs experience before we get into conference/NCAA play.
  • Korie Lucious hit a couple 3-pointers at big moments.  Good bounce back from 4-15 FG shooting in last two games.
  • Derrick Nix missed another two free throws.  1-20.  Ugh.

Next up: Back to the friendly confines of the Breslin Center for a match-up with the Oakland Grizzlies.  Thursday at 7:00.  Big Ten Network.