Michigan State knocks off Wichita State 65-57 in roughly a 63-possession game. Unofficial Official box score (I’m tired of waiting for the official one to get posted).
It’s hard to know exactly how to feel about this result, partly because we don’t know how good (or bad) a team Wichita State is. On the one hand, the Shockers came into the Old Spice Classic as the weakest team in the field on paper. On the other hand, they played Georgetown within a single-digit margin and beat a Siena team most observers thought was going to be pretty tough.
I didn’t see the first half of the game; I listened to the radio broadcast at less than full attentiveness. It appears the main issue for MSU was hitting perimeter shots. MSU’s guards combined to make only 4 of 16 FG attempts in the first half. The 45-minute delay for the “leak delay” probably didn’t help in terms of getting into a rhythm on offense, and MSU trailed 26-22 at the half.
Thanks to Dylan’s tip, I watched the second half of the game via on-line streaming video–but, again, at less than full attentiveness (I confess to being distracted by the less-than-stellar trash talk on the side-by-side chat room of the streaming video website in question). Anyway, MSU overcame some early turnover problems and found more ways to get shots closer to the basket, led by the efforts of Raymar Morgan and Kalin Lucas, to outscore Wichita State 43-31 in the second half.
The scoring attack was a balanced one, with Morgan, Lucas, Marquise Gray, Durrell Summers, and Delvon Roe all scoring between 9 and 12 points. Roe provided a great all-around effort, adding 11 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal in 19 minutes of play.
Rebounding was clearly the high point of Michigan State’s performance tonight. The statistics indicated Wichita State was a very good rebounding team, but MSU put up dominant rebounding percentages (excluding team rebounds) of 53.1% 54.3% (offensive) and 75.9% 74.2% (defensive). Shocker forward Ramon Clemente, who came into the game averaging nearly 11 rebounds per game, was held to just 3 boards in 25 minutes in this one.
Considering the circumstances, I’m happy to take this win to close out the tournament. I’m going to classify this one under “finding a way to win ugly when your shots aren’t falling.” Those of you who viewed the game in a more complete and attentive fashion can chime in with your own views on MSU’s performance below. I hope to have a post looking at the positives and negatives of MSU’s performance over the three-game tournament up later tonight or tomorrow.
Next up (do I really need to tell you?): #1-ranked North Carolina in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Wednesday night at 9:15. Ford Field. ESPN.