The Spartans run by the Cowboys 94-79 in a 76-possession game. Official box score.
Well, MSU certainly got that up-tempo thing to work last night. I listened to the game on the radio, and the play-by-play call by Will Tieman was pretty frantic. Oklahoma State apparently insisted on pressing MSU, to not much success. MSU turned it over 16 times, but in a 76-possession game, that translates to a respectable turnover percentage of 21.1%. (And, on the other end, we forced the Cowboys into 18 turnovers.)
Meanwhile, MSU converted a lot of easy baskets in transition, converting on 30 of 49 two-point FG attempts (61.2%). Kalin Lucas finished with 10 assists and just 1 turnover.
Oklahoma State scored over a point per possession, but it sounded to me like the Spartan defense was much more sound last night. The Cowboys’ offense was boosted by 11-28 three-point shooting (39.3%). The interior defense was more sound, though, holding Oklahoma State to 16-35 shooting on two-point attempts (45.7%).
I liked the move to start Raymar Morgan on the bench. Officials tend to call a few ticky-tack fouls early in a game on post players. With Morgan playing the 4 spot, he’s vulnerable to those calls. As it turns out, he still picked up two early fouls (the second one an offensive foul), but came back strong in the second half to finish with 29 points on just 11 FG attempts in 23 minutes of play.
Marquise Gray continues to give the team what it needs in the middle, putting up 12 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block, and 2 steals in 19 minutes. Draymond Green’s provided some strong rebounding, as well, pulling down 8 boards to go with the 6 he grabbed vs. Maryland.
And Travis Walton has been a revelation, scoring 16 points on 7-10 shooting last night to go with 5 assitsts. Let’s hope the magical shooting touch he’s found in Disney World comes back with him to Lansing Sunday night.
If anyone saw the game on TV, feel free to post your observations below. This game obviously helps offset some (but not all) of the angst from Thursday night’s loss. A 2-1 finish for the tournament is now within reach. We wouldn’t have beaten a ranked team in the process, but, not to worry, we’ve got a date with the mother of all ranked teams Wednesday night.
We play for 5th place on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. (on ESPNU again) against the Shockers of Wichita State, who slipped by Siena 72-70 yesterday. Here’s a reprint of my bullet-point preview of the Shockers:
- 2007-08 record: 11-20 (4-14 in the Missouri Valley Conference).
- 2007-08 tempo-free strength: Rebounding the ball; the Shockers ranked in the top 25 nationally in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage.
- 2007-08 tempo-free weakness: Making three-pointers; Wichita State shot just 30.8% from beyond the arc (321st in the nation).
- 2007-08 tempo: 61.4 possessions/game.
- Returning players (based on minutes played): Only four of top ten players return, including just one starter.
- 2008-09 results to date: 2-1, with a loss to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
- Key returning player: 6′6″ senior forward Ramon Clemente, who led the team with 7.9 rebounds per game and ranked in the top 100 nationally in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage last season.
- Key newcomer: 6′4″ freshman guard Toure’ Murray, who is averaging 12.0 points/game on 6-13 three-point shooting through three games.