We knew that this was going to be a tough stretch of games. Going from playing Arizona in Hawaii on a Friday to facing off against Kentucky in New York only 4 days later. As soon as things things tipped of from Madison Square Garden it seemed like Michigan State was always a step behind Kentucky. They kept things close for the first 5 minutes of the game but after went on a 7-0 run early in the first half, there was no catching up and Kentucky ended up winning the first game in the Champions Classic, 69-48.
I could write about 9 things that I learned in this one but for the sake of your time, I will keep it to three.
You CAN Try Too Hard
We all know Miles Bridges is good. I mean the kid can be great at times, but at many points on Tuesday night it just plain looked like he was doin’ too much. Take the first 5 minutes of the second half. He started with a great three to start things off but the next time the Spartans had the ball he decided to “put the squad on his back” as Dickie V said on the broadcast. He went 3 on 1 and ended up turning the ball over for the 6th time of the night. A few possessions later he tried to bring the house down and the result ended up being some fuel for Twitter:
The freshman ended up with more turnovers (7) than points (6). While he was a great talent on the boards tonight, he needs to learn to slow down a bit. He is the most talented guy on the floor when he wants to be, he just needs to not want it so hard.
Who Is Going To Step-Up
So, Bridges had an off night, that is going to happen from time to time. What was a big issue in the 21 point loss tonight was the lack of anyone stepping up to help lead the team and score the important buckets when the team needed it. Kenny Goins was a great leader on the floor for stretches, talking to the younger guys and grabbing some key rebounds but he is not going to be able to score enough to keep the Spartans in the game.
This point can essentially be a question: Where in the world is Eron Harris?! The dude averaged 17 points a game playing at West Virginia. So far this year he has 9 points and 7 turnovers. This is going to be an issue moving forward for a team that is not big and relying on shooting. Either Harris, Langford, or Winston is going to need to start putting points up or things are going to get ugly against Duke later this month.
Live By Jumper, Die By Jumper
Tonight, Michigan State just shot terrible tonight. Look at these numbers from the field:
Field Goals: 32.3% (20-62)
Three Point: 19.2% (5-26)
Free Throws: 33.3% (3-9)
You are not going to win games like this against anyone, let alone Kentucky. The Spartans got plenty of looks tonight, about half of those 26 three-point attempts were wide open and uncontested. They just didn’t hit what they needed to. This is going to be a fun team to watch when they are making baskets but with shooting nights like tonight, they are going to struggle until either Carter or Schilling are back in the line-up.
The Spartans are back in action at home on Friday, facing off against the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils. Game tips at 7pm ET.