Izzo over Crean 75-47 in a 69-possession game. StatSheet box score.
The mind of Ed Hightower is an enigma wrapped in a riddle.
Due to the generosity of a professional acquaintance, I sat in the second row behind the scorer’s table today. So I had an up-close view of the “nuts” incident. If you have the game on DVR/tape, go back to when Ed Hightower goes to the monitor to review the play. I’m the headless guy in the upper, left-hand corner of the screen with a white shirt on that says “Basketball” in the MSU jersey script.
Anyway, Hightower managed to look at the replay and conclude that there was nothing out of the ordinary to be observed, despite a national TV audience seeing a shot of the play that clearly showed Devon Dumes lowering his elbow and purposely going after Goran Suton’s unmentionables as they ran up the court. In fact, a few minutes later, the officials at the scorer’s table were replaying the incident for their own enlightenment, and–even from my seat two rows back–I could see what happened. So it’s not like Hightower didn’t have access to the right camera angle. His brain just processed what he saw differently than other people’s brains did. (Update: Per the comment section, our views about this particular replay incident–but not Ed Hightower generally–are currently under review.)
Bottom line: Ed Hightower’s standing with the Breslin faithful was lowered yet another notch. And Devon Dumes, who was working with a clean slate, has taken no time at all to place himself squarely on the most-wanted list. At least he was nice enough to take another cheap shot at a Spartan in the closing second of the game to get tagged with the ejection he so richly deserved.
On to the stats:
Despite only leading by 3 at the half a minute into the second half, MSU thoroughly dominated this game statistically. Indiana was unable to generate any consistent offense. You can’t ask for better defensive numbers than an eFG% of 34.5%, a TO% of 30.4%, and an OffReb% of 18.8%. MSU’s physical defense led to a few too many free throw opportunities for the Hoosiers, but that’s a small gripe. The only two IU players to get to double digits, Verdell Jones and Matt Roth, both did so by posting unimpressive 2-8 FG shooting lines.
The reason this game was fairly tight for the first 20 21 minutes was the MSU offense. The Spartan players looked tentative in the first half, almost as if they knew they could dominate IU in multiple ways but couldn’t quite decide how to do it. More concretely, they missed a number of open 3-point looks. For the game, Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers missed all of the combined 11 shots they took from beyond the arc. If a few of those go down, MSU would have built a 20-point lead much more quickly than they did.
In the end, MSU got the 28-point blowout they were supposed to get. And they got two very good performances from a couple guys we might not have expected to play so well:
- Chris Allen scored 16 points on 4-6 three-point shooting. His shooting stroke appears to be back just in time to face the Wolverine 1-3-1 zone. And he had 3 assists to boot.
- Draymond Green had a career night, with 15 points and 12 rebounds against the undersized Hoosiers. I don’t think we can expect similar levels of output against teams with more bulk inside, but he definitely earned himself some more minutes over the next few games.
Lucas’ and Summers’ poor shooting is something of a concern, but both guys strike me as players that can shake off a bad performance pretty quickly. Despite playing limited minutes in most games up until the last couple weeks, Summers has not had two consecutive games without a 3-point make this season.
Any game in which you take 17 more shots from the field than your opponent does qualifies as a success in my book.
Next up: A trip to Ann Arbor next Tuesday night (7:00, ESPN) to play those rascally Wolverines.
P.S. I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble here, but I have to tell you that Tom Izzo’s sideline banter is definitely rated PG-13 R. And some of the advice he gives the players is more straightforward than you might think. After Delvon Roe missed two free throws, Izzo told him that next time he should “make the layup.”
Lastly, it was interesting to hear Marquise Gray give it right back to Izzo after Izzo yelled at him about a bad defensive sequence, with Gray telling the coach that he needed Roe to call out a switch. I have no idea who was right about the situation, but I’m glad Gray hasn’t allowed himself to get beaten down–despite the fact that his last shot at being a major contributor as a Spartan seems to have slipped away.