Michigan State dominates the Nittany Lions, 86-49. I picked an excellent game to take the Official Wife and Official Sons of the Spartans Weblog to.
This was, of course, a home game against the second worst defensive team in the conference. But that shouldn’t detract from the fact that the Spartans played with a combination of confidence and clinical precision on the offensive end unseen in conference play to date. Consider:
- Only 7 turnovers in 59 possessions (11.9%).
- 58.1% shooting on 2-pointers (25-43) and 58.8% shooting on 3-pointers (10-17).
- 12 offensive rebounds in 27 opportunities (44.4%).
The net result: a season-high 1.46 points per possession. MSU came out with a purpose and played with intensity for a full 40 minutes. Even when Izzo inserted the entire second string with 12 minutes left in the second, they increased the lead by 10 points over the next 6 minutes.
From my vantage point in the 18th row of the upper deck, it looked like Izzo played it pretty cool after several early turnovers. The team seemed to respond and play aggressively and efficiently throughout the remainder of the game.
On the defensive end, MSU forced Penn State to take tough shots all night. Jamelle Cornley made a few nice post moves during the game, but finished just 4-11 from the field. And the Nittany Lions connected on only 5 of 19 three-point attempts (26.3%).
In a game like this, there are any number of attractive numbers to be found in the box score. Some highlights:
- I was surprised this game contained only 59 possessions. MSU pushed the ball early, even on made baskets. They only ended up scoring 10 fast break points, though, as they made good decisions as to when to pull the ball back out and probe the zone. Also, the total of just 18 turnovers between the two teams would tend to reduce the number of possessions in the game.
- Raymar Morgan looked much more comfortable with the basketball tonight. He scored 16 points on 7-8 FG shooting, hitting several jumpshots and attacking the basket in transition.
- A combined 15 assists vs. just 2 turnovers for Lucas and Walton. 30 assists (on 35 made baskets) vs. the 7 turnovers for the entire team.
- Neitzel played just 21 minutes–sitting out the final 12 minutes as Izzo got everyone involved. 14 players played and 12 scored–including walk-on and Okemos native Mike Kebler, who scored his first two points as a Spartan.
- Nice game for Marquise: 9 points and 7 rebounds. Plus one very nice assist–just his 8th of the year. He made a swing pass to Lucas over the Penn State zone for an open 3-point look, which Lucas knocked down. Nice to see Gray get pumped up about something other than a dunk on his way back down court.
- Herzog got 11 minutes tonight. He actually looked fairly composed on offense (compared to Ibok, at least), although he still needs to add more bulk as he lacked the strength to convert a couple inside looks, finishing 1-4 on FG attempts.
MSU played with just the right balance of patience and assertiveness against a zone defense tonight. We’ll see if they can maintain their new found offensive confidence against Iowa’s man-to-man defense on Saturday (2:00; ESPN).
In a superstitious attempt to make tonight’s performance reverberate into the remainder of the schedule, I’ve changed the blog header to a photo taken at the game . . .