Valentine and Forbes led the way in scoring with 15 and 16 points respectively, but Matt McQuaid was the star of the night. He finished with 9 points, 8 assists (not including a pass to Goins that led to a foul), and most importantly ZERO turnovers. Some other thoughts on tonight's game.
- McQuaid... he was fantastic and while I hate to be unoriginal, there's a lot of Nik Stauskas to his game (worse driver, more natural passer). The way he can create and be such a threat with his shooting is going to be great asset for MSU this year. There's zero question he's going to be in the rotation and I'm sure the other guys love playing with him. His defense appears to be fine and while he may not be able to create as well against better competition, his shooting and smart passing will allow him to contribute.
- Deyonta Davis badly struggled with foul trouble and he fouled out after just 6 minutes. During that time he looked fine offensively with a couple nice offensive rebounds and a standing dunk after a bad Valentine lob. One of his best attributes is his wingspan and an underrated aspect of it is that it allows him to deny post-entry passes to go along with his shot-blocking.
- Eron Harris still hasn't gotten going the way many (including me) expected him to. During the two exhibition games he shot 3-3 from 2 and 1-8 from 3. He did however have 7 total assists (5 TO's) so he's making the right passes. From watching him move it's obvious he has a good feel for the game offensively but his reported bad defense from West Virginia hasn't gone away. It was bad enough early in the game that Valentine and Nairn got in his face about it after he got blown by on a couple drives. If he wants to get more playing time he needs to perform better defensively and show that he can knock down the open looks he's getting.
- Again, I'm admittedly high on Bess but I'm a big fan of the way he plays. He's aggressive and has shown a couple times that he is crafty in scoring around the rim. Something that will give him an edge is that he's often going to be playing as a small-ball 4 with 2-3 shooters giving him space around. KJ tweeted this out about the Valentine-Forbes-McQuaid-Bess-Davis lineup:
I <3 this lineup— KJ (@KJfromTheDeck) November 10, 2015
- That lineup gave them playmaking, shooting, and versatility. I may have overreacted in saying it might be their best lineup but I don't think that's too far off. That 1-4 might be the best combination and their bigs are interchangeable enough that you can take your pick.
- Costello had a nice game with a sneaky good stat line including 4 assists. His passing and overall skill is what gives him his edge as the center right now and I would expect to see him as the primary center going forward.
- Forbes and Valentine were solid and their chemistry is going to be key this season as Valentine knows how to find Forbes as Forbes moves to open space. Forbes shot 11-17 (64.7%) during the two exhibition games and while that will regress, there's a good chance it stays above the 42% from last year.
- Gavin Schilling is carrying over his good play from Italy as he shot 10-12 in two games and while the competition is lower, it's nice that he's being consistent with his play.