MSU squeezed by Oakland 75-71 yesterday. Box score here.
I didn’t see the game (family get-together; BTN game), but here’s the story the numbers tell:
- Offensive trend #1 we might have expected: MSU turned the ball over 16 times in 65.5 possessions: 24.4%. Still not so good. Blame for giving the ball way can be spread across most of the team. Walton and Lucas only contributed two TOs a piece.
- Offensive trend #2 we might have expected: MSU rebounded 20 out of 33 offensive rebounding opportunities–for an amazing 60.6%. As you may have read elsewhere, Mr. Suton was the story here–pulling in 11 offensive rebounds to go with 9 defensive rebounds.
- On offensive, that leaves shooting. The Spartans were somewhat subpar in this area, shooting 48.8% on 2-pointers, 33.3% on 3-pointers (4/12), and 71.9% on free throws (32 FT attempts helps, though). Raymar Morgan was the only Spartan to put up points with a high degree of efficiency: 20 points on 8-10 FG shooting.
On the defensive end, the numbers weren’t too far off for Oakland:
- 13 turnovers (19.8% of possessions)
- 20 offensive rebounds. They pulled those down out of a possible 41 opportunities, so their percentage (48.8%) wasn’t quite as impressive as MSU’s, but it was still pretty darn good and, apparently, kept them in this game right down until the end.
- They shot a healthy 55.5% on 2-pointers and made 9 out of 15 free throws.
- The saving grace for MSU was Oakland’s 3-point shooting percentage: 22.2%. And they attempted 27 of them (making 6), so even a mediocre shooting percentage around 30.0% might have won the game for them.
Again, I didn’t see the game, so I can’t attest to whether MSU was forcing tough shots outside the arc or whether Oakland’s two 3-point shooters (Brandon Cassise and Okemos native Johnathan Jones combined to go 6 for 24) were just off last night.
So that’s the story the box score tells. I promise to watch the next one: NC State in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge Wednesday night at the Breslin Center. 7:00 on ESPN.
One thing to keep an eye on: Can MSU right the ship on the defensive boards? Their defensive rebounding percentage (the inverse of offensive rebounding percentage for their opponent) was a dismal 38.9 vs. UCLA and a still-not-very-good 51.2% vs. Oakland. For now, I’m going to chalk this up to (1) dealing with the man-child Kevin Love vs. UCLA, (2) playing an Oakland team that was pulling in a healthy 48.5% of offensive rebounding opportunities going into last night’s game, and (3) only having Marquise Gray on the floor for six minutes last night due to a bad ankle. If there’s one thing we know Coach Izzo can get a team to do, it’s rebound the basketball.