The Spartans claw their way past the Jayhawks 67-62 in a 66-possession game. StatSheet box score.
It’s 1:49 in the a.m. as I begin this game recap. So what I write below may or may not be coherent.
Further, from my seat in section 242 of Lucas Oil Stadium, this game much more as an emotional experience than it was an analytical experience.
And, even if one tried to systematically analyze this game, where would you start? This four-factor graph makes no sense whatsoever to me:
Instead, I give you a dozen random bullets:
- Kalin Lucas could not be any more clutch. 18 points, 7-7 FG shooting, 7 assists, 4 steals.
- Goran Suton scored 20 points tonight (to go with 9 rebounds and 5 steals), and he didn’t even really look completely on his game.
- Draymond Green just keeps getting better. He played the fifth most minutes (21) of any Spartan tonight, believe it or not.
- Durrell Summers showed up: 9 key points and 5 big rebounds
- 11-19 assist-turnover ratio for Kansas. That caught up with them in the end. As good as Sherron Collins (20 points on 9-13 FG shooting) and Cole Aldrich (17 points, 14 rebounds) were, they combined for 10 of those turnovers.
- What was Tom Izzo thinking putting Raymar Morgan back in the game with 2 minutes left, after sitting him for almost all of the second half? (Apparently something happened to his nose?) Regardless, it worked, as he dunked the ball off a pass from Lucas on the first play he was back in.
- 16-17 FT shooting for the team. Huge. Miss a couple of those and the game is out of reach in the final few minutes.
- Key play most people won’t be talking about tomorrow: Durrell Summers scoring on the sequence when we got like 3 offensive rebounds but couldn’t get the ball to go in. If Summers doesn’t finally score, Kansas is up 5 with the ball and only 3 minutes left.
- Gotta love Idong Ibok trying to inbound the ball off an MSU made free throw. He still looks nothing at all like a basketball player, but he’s an awfully nice luxury to have in a game like this one.
- Pretty good MSU contingent down here–although not as big a numbers advantage over the Kansas contingent as I expected. Arena was 75% Cardinal red. Sunday’s game will effectively be a road game.
This was a pretty ugly win. I’m disappointed the team came out looking so tight–Raymar Morgan, in particular. But, consistent with the resilience they’ve shown all year, they never caved in to their own failures. I think I’m correct in saying that this team still has yet to lose a game that’s within a single possession with 2-3 minutes to go.
I think it’s safe to say that Louisville isn’t shaking in its boots right now. We’re going to have to play much better than we did tonight, and the Cardinals are going to have to play considerably worse than they did tonight, for us to have a chance on Sunday (2:20 tip-off). Two things Arizona did that I don’t expect us to, though: (1) Play a zone defense that gives Louisville two dozen clean 3-point looks and (2) fail to attack the full court press for easy baskets.
Tom Izzo, master short-timeframe game planner, has his work cut out for him: get the team prepared for both a full court press and a half court zone in a period of 38 hours.
That’s all for now. I’ll get some sort of game preview up tomorrow for Sunday’s game, but I’m not sure exactly when.
GO STATE! ELITE EIGHT!