The Spartans take care of business against the Wildcats, winning 78-62. Box score here.
Northwestern did a pretty good job of trying to directly attack the Spartans Weblog key to the game. They hit 11 3-pointers in 28 attempts for a healthy .393 shooting percentage. Craig Moore led the way with 7-14 3-point shooting, including a number of highlight reel attempts.
But MSU was even better from beyond the arc–hitting the same number of 3-pointers in 10 fewer attempts. 11-18 = .611. Neitzel was 6-10. Allen was 4-5.
- Morgan (23), Neitzel (20), and Allen (17) scored 60 of MSU’s 78 points. Great all-around game on offense from Morgan on 9-11 FG shooting. He hit from the outside early and got free for shots around the rim the rest of the game.
- MSU gave it up 16 times in 62 possessions (25.8%). Not great, but in no way unexpected. For most of the game, MSU did a good job of aggressively attacking the 1-3-1 to create quality scoring opportunities. They shot exactly 60% on 2-pointers, in addition to the 3-point shooting display.
- And they forced an uncharacteristic 15 turnovers from Northwestern. Five of those were failures to get a shot off before the shot clock ran off.
- 25 assists on 29 FG makes for MSU. More evidence they did a good job attacking the zone as a team.
- Bit of a rough entrance for Lucas. I think he turned it over 3 times in those 4 possessions after he entered the game. Presumably just a function of playing against a unique defense for the first time.
- Walton looks completely off on anything but a layup. He was off a bit on defense, too–fouling out with a couple minutes left.
- Only 2 points for Suton, but he did a good job creating shots from the middle of the zone, as evidenced by his 4 assists versus zero turnovers. The prettiest was the touch pass to Naymick for a dunk off a lob from Neitzel. He only played 18 minutes, as Izzo went with a small lineup most of the game.
- Another four blocked shots for Naymick as he continues to add to his MSU career record. The remarkable thing about the shots he blocks are that most of them are attempts by the player he’s guarding, rather than someone he’s rotated over to.
- Only 2 minutes for Summers. Probably a function of playing against a zone defense, but you do sense that Allen (25 minutes tonight) is gaining the edge for PT due to the 3-point shooting element he brings.
- Northwestern actually pulled down more offensive rebounds than MSU by a margin of 14 to 8. A bunch of those were of the strange-bounce-off-a-missed-3-pointer variety. And MSU didn’t have many missed shots to go after. Their offensive rebounding percentage (8/19 = 42.1%) was actually pretty good.
On Northwestern generally, I’d make this comment: They look very nice passing it around on offense. They have a nice collection of guys who can handle the ball and shoot from the outside. But it’s all perimeter passing. Unless the defense breaks down on a backdoor cut, they don’t have anyone who can create an advantage to break down a defense. Hard to say what the future of the program is. Is Carmody doing the best with the talent Northwestern is likely to get? Or could they compete for more talent with a different coach and system?
All-in-all, I feel pretty good about this one. A 16-point road win when the other team hits a number of spectacular shots from 3-point range is a good night’s work.
Up next: The varmints from Ann Arbor make their way up I-96 to play in East Lansing at 1:00 on Sunday (CBS). Here’s hoping the full week of preparation for the 1-3-1 zone has MSU ready to dispatch them with efficiency.