Posts Tagged ‘durrell summers’

I’ve decided not to post any commentary of a forward-looking nature until we get over to the new site. For now, let’s revel in the season that has been.

One of the things that made this season so special was the number of guys who stepped up at various times during the season to get the team to 31 wins, despite multiple injuries disrupting the regular lineup during the season.  For the season, nine different players led the team in scoring at least once, seven different players led the team in rebounding at least once, and five different players led the team in assists at least once (including ties in all three cases).

To look back at some of those contributions, I’ve put together a list of the top ten individual performances over the course of the season.  I’ve split the list into five regular season performances and five postseason performances.

Regular Season Performances

5. Raymar Morgan vs. Oklahoma State
29 points on 9-11 FG shooting and 11-13 FT shooting, 5 rebounds
Few MSU fans got to see this game, after MSU dropped the opener in the Old Spice Classic, but Morgan put up some huge numbers against a team that would eventually make the NCAA Tournament.

4. Delvon Roe at Michigan
14 points on 5-7 FG shooting, 10 rebounds
From the game recap: “Delvon Roe finally put together the kind of game we’ve been hoping for against a smaller lineup: 14 points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes.  He took advantage of the mismatch against Zach Novak and the other guards that were matched up with him inside–and made 4 of 6 free throws to boot.”

3. Kalin Lucas at Illinois
18 points on 7-14 FG shooting, 4 assists, 1 turnovers
You could put Lucas on this list as many times as you wanted, but we’ll go with his extremely efficient performance in MSU’s best win of the Big Ten season.  That performance included a layup Lucas created out of nothing to put MSU ahead 60-58 with 5 minutes go after Illinois had rallied from a 7-point second-half deficit.

2. Durrell Summers at Ohio State
26 points on 6-9 three-point shooting, 4 rebounds
From the game recap: “The tale of the first half was Durrell Summers single-handedly keeping the team afloat, scoring 16 of the team’s 26 points as the rest of the team struggled with turnovers and 3-point shooting against the Ohio State 3-2 zone.”

1. Goran Suton vs. Wisconsin
16 points on 6-6 FT shooting, 10 rebounds, 2 assists
From the game recap: “Suton was a warrior.  After not starting the game (apparently to reward Tom Herzog–he of the graceful reverse layup–for his hard work in practice), Suton posted 16 points and 10 rebounds–most of them in the second half.  He pulled down a couple huge offensive rebounds, as did Raymar Morgan (5 rebounds in 17 minutes), during the comeback from 12 down.  Give Suton credit for keeping his composure after the airballed 3-pointer (his third 3-point miss of the game) and leading the team to victory.”

Honorable Mention: Travis Walton’s back-to-back 16-point performances at the Old Spice Classic.  Marquise Gray’s back-to-back 12-point performances in the same setting.  Suton’s 18-point performance against Texas in just his second game back from the knee injury.  Morgan’s 22-point/13-rebound performance against Northwestern to help MSU open the conference season with two road wins.  Chris Allen’s 17-point performance (on 4-7 three-point shooting) in the same game, against the 1-3-1 zone.  Lucas’ 21-point performance against Purdue in the regular season finale.  And just for Mrs. SW: Austin Thornton’s 9-point performance (on 3-3 three-point shooting) in the opener against Idaho.

Postseason Performances

5. Goran Suton vs. North Carolina
17 points on 3-4 three-point shooting, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks
While the outcome of the game was a disappointment, let’s not forget Suton went toe to toe with one of the most celebrated post players in the history of college basketball and matched him almost play for play.

4. Kalin Lucas vs. Kansas
18 points on 7-7 FT shooting, 7 assists, 4 steals
From the game recap: “Kalin Lucas could not be any more clutch.”  I think this play will forever pop into my head whenever I hear the phrase “and one.”

3. Raymar Morgan vs. UConn
18 points on 7-13 FG shooting, 9 rebounds, 5 steals
From the game recap: “Raymar Morgan played the best game of his career . . . against the very epitome of the kind of tall, athletic opponent he normally struggles against.  I thought his confidence would melt away after he had his first shot of the game blocked by Thabeet, but MSU retained the ball (on a team rebound) and Morgan came right back and knocked down a shot.  From there, his confidence swelled.”

2. Goran Suton vs. Louisville
19 points on 3-5 three-point shooting, 10 rebounds, 4 assists
From the game recap: “Tom Izzo’s game plan in the half-court offense was to put Suton in the middle of the top two defenders in Louisville’s 2-3 zone and use Suton’s shooting/passing skills to break down the defense.  Suton responded beautifully, almost single-handedly keeping MSU even with the Cardinals through the first 20 minutes.  On defense, he completely shut down Samardo Samuels.  On his first three touches of the ball in the post, Samuels traveled, missed a shot, and got called for an offensive foul.  Samuels never bounced back and went scoreless for the game.”

1. Travis Walton vs. USC
18 points on 8-13 FG shooting, 2 assists, 2 steals
From the game recap: “On the first possession of the game–when USC came out employing the box and one–Walton got the ball about 18 feet from the basket in an open spot in the zone.  Usually, you’d expect him to hesitate at least briefly before shooting the ball so early in the game.  But, instead, he immediately squared up and knocked down the shot.  From their, his confidence ballooned; eventually he knocked down a couple shots where he had to adjust the arc of the shot due to an onrushing USC defender.”

Honorable Mention: Chris Allen’s 17-point performance against Minnesota in the conference tournament.  Korie Lucious’ 16-point performance to try to mount a comeback against Ohio State in the conference tournament.  Draymond Green’s 16-point performance against Robert Morris.  Suton’s 20-point/9-rebound performance against Kansas.  Lucas’ 21-point/5-assist performance against UConn.

Who would have thought that Travis Walton, of all players, would end up making having arguably the key offensive performance of the entire season?  And we’re not even talking about his defense.  The games in which he locked down A.J. Abrams, Manny Harris, and A.J. Price could have easily been included on the lists above.

Coffee Talk: What do all of you think?  Which performance merits top billing?  What great individual performances did I miss?


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NCAA Final Four: Michigan State Spartans v Connecticut Huskies

I guess we can run a little, eh, Digger?

Raymar Morgan: 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists.  Who’s the bozo that called him a “role player”?

Game recap after I get some sleep.

For now, more of The Dunk:

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MSU dismantles Louisville 64-52 in a 56-possession game to advance to the Final Four.  StatSheet box score.

After a performance as thoroughly impressive as this one, it’s hard to know where to start.  So let’s start with what each of the eight guys who played double-digit minutes today contributed:

  • Goran Suton: 19 points on 3-5 three-point shooting, 10 rebounds, 4 assists.  Tom Izzo’s game plan in the half-court offense was to put Suton in the middle of the top two defenders in Louisville’s 2-3 zone and use Suton’s shooting/passing skills to break down the defense.  Suton responded beautifully, almost single-handedly keeping MSU even with the Cardinals through the first 20 minutes.  On defense, he completely shut down Samardo Samuels.  On his first three touches of the ball in the post, Samuels traveled, missed a shot, and got called for an offensive foul.  Samuels never bounced back and went scoreless for the game.
  • Kalin Lucas: 10 points on 2-3 three-point shooting, 5 assists, 3 offensive rebounds.  He turned it over 4 times, but he handled the Louisville full-court pressure well and got the ball to the right players in the right places throughout the game.
  • Travis Walton: 8 points, 2 assists, 2 steals.  After scoring only 2 points on Friday, Walton shot the ball with confidence in this game.  He was steady at the helm for the 4-5 minute stretch that Lucas sat out in the final 6-7 minutes (why so long?).  And he absolutely shut down Terrence Williams (1-7 FG shooting).
  • Durrell Summers: 12 points on 6 FGA (2-3 from beyond the arc) and 3 rebounds.  One fast-break dunk.  Two key free throws.  Three silky smooth jumpers.
  • Draymond Green: 6 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals.  Is there anything this man can’t do?  At one point, he was helping Walton bring the ball up the court against full-court pressure.  He made a fantastic driving bank shot just a possession or two after having his shot blocked driving the lane.  No fear.  And how about that offensive put-back that seemed to hang on the rim for about 3 seconds before dropping in?
  • Chris Allen: Only 2 points, but he was our hustle/glue guy tonight.  4 rebounds, 3 assists.
  • Raymar Morgan: He didn’t score, but he absorbed some fouls against Earl Clark (to put it somewhat euphemistically).  He was sort of a perimeter version of Idong Ibok in this game.  He now has five full days to get used to the mask (which he took off at halftime?) and find his jumpshot:
  • Delvon Roe: Only 2 points–but it was a big basket.  He scored on a pass ahead on the fast break, on a play on which most big men wouldn’t have stayed under control, to put us back ahead after Terrence Williams had converted a potentially momentum-changing alley-oop dunk to tie the game early in the second half.

Put it all together, and MSU put up 1.14 points per possession against arguably the best defense in the country.  Only one other Louisville opponent (Notre Dame) exceeded that mark this season.  Hitting 8 of 16 shots from beyond the arc went along way toward scoring so efficiently against the Cardinal zone.

Defensively, MSU seemed to suck the confidence right out of the Louisville players.  Earl Clark was great, scoring 19 points on 8-17 FG shooting.  The rest of the Louisville players, however, combined for just 10 made field goals (in 30 attempts).  MSU matched their physicality (and then some, as evidenced by the foul count).  And the absence of bad turnovers against the Louisville pressure meant we didn’t give up a single fast-break basket.  Unable to create easy baskets in the paint or in transition, Louisville had nothing to fall back on.  Williams and Clark ended up taking some ill-advised off-balance jumpers in the final 10 minutes.  And Rick Pitino seemed to give up–not even attempting a miracle comeback by fouling intentionally when we were still in the one-and one.

(Speaking of Pitino, did he show us some respect by having his players not trap as aggressively in the back court?  It seemed like he knew Izzo would have a precise plan for creating easy baskets if he double-teamed our ball-handlers.)

OK, here’s your four-factor graph:

The one factor Louisville beat us at–free throw rate–turned out to not be a big deal, as the Cardinals made only 10 of their 18 FT attempts.

Eight hours after this game ended, the result still seems somewhat surreal.  Five Final Fours in 11 years.  Perhaps more impressively, Tom Izzo has now reached the Final Four with three completely distinct active rosters.  (To do list: Figure out how many coaches have achieved that feat.)

A great coach.  A great team.  A great weekend.  A great week ahead.  Stay tuned.

Next up: The University of Connecticut Huskies.  Saturday, 6:07 p.m.  You may have heard of the venue: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan.

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Going into NCAA Tournament play, our starting lineup looks like it may finally be completely healthy.  Kalin Lucas, Travis Walton, Raymar Morgan, Delvon Roe, and Goran Suton should all be able to play 25-30 minutes per game at near 100%.  (Roe is perhaps the exception to this statement, but he’s certainly as ready to contribute effective minutes as he has been all season.)

That’s reason for optimism, as there have been only a few stretches of games when all five of those players have been fully available.  And we’ve been pretty good in those stretches.

The concern is what the guys coming off the bench will be able to contribute in any given game.  In particular, Chris Allen and/or Durrell Summers will need to play 20+ minutes per game as the first reserve options when the starters rotate out.  Allen has been erratic all year, mixing one or two solid games at a time with stretches of games in which he seems to be completely off kilter offensively.

Summers, meanwhile, became a major contributor when Morgan had to sit out with pneumonia, scoring more than 20 points in 3 games of a 4-game stretch at one point.  More recently, though, Summer’s scoring touch has disappeared completely.

Here are Allen’s and Summer’s key stats over the last 10 games:

Allen Summers
Mins/G 18.4 20.9
Pts/G 8.2 4.7
2pt% 48.3 35.7
3pt% 33.3 16.7
FT% 81.8 62.5
Reb/G 1.9 2.9
Ast/G 1.2 0.5
TO/G 1.2 1.5

Summers’ numbers are abysmal.  His 3-point stroke has gone missing, and there haven’t been many opportunities for him to score in transition.  The only thing he’s continued to bring to the table is the ability to rebound from the perimeter.

Allen’s stats actually look pretty good on a per-game-average basis–although they’re boosted somewhat by a 16-point performance in the home game against Indiana that began the 10-game stretch.  His shooting numbers are acceptable, his passing ability has been a factor in flashes, and–in my subjective view–he’s become a pretty solid man-to-man defender.

So which player do you prefer to see as the first player off the bench?  Do you continue to give Summers major minutes, hoping he can regain mid-conference-season form, giving the team a third 20-point scoring possibility to go with Lucas and Morgan?  Or do you give Allen the minutes, recognizing that he’s likely to give you a brief flash of scoring in each game, but probably isn’t going to be a game-changer?

The numbers point toward Allen, but his 2-11 shooting performance (0-6 from beyond the arc) against Ohio State in Indy remains fresh in our minds.  The third option, for which we don’t have much data, is Korie Lucious.  He was great in the Ohio State game, but he makes us really small on the perimeter and that game was the first time he’s played more than 15 minutes in a game as a collegiate player.  Assuming, he’s going to play 5-10 minutes at point guard when Lucas is out of the game, it’s hard to see him playing another 10-15 minutes on the wing.

Let’s hear it: Who should Tom Izzo point to when he makes his first substitution tomorrow night?  (And no fair saying Draymond Green.)

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The Spartans bury the Gophers 76-47 in a 65-possession game.  StatSheet box score.

A very impressive start to the new home-court winning streak, to say the least.  MSU did everything we thought they needed to do, and they did it in abundance:

  • Knocked down perimeters shots (7-12 on 3-pointers).
  • Controlled both the offensive and defensive glass (42-26 overall rebounding advantage).
  • Played lock-down man-to-man defense (15-52 FG shooting for the Gophers).

Even when Minnesota did score some points in the second half, they had to make tough shots to do it.  The Gophers posted just 6 assists for the entire game; MSU forced them to play one on one.  The MSU interior defense was particularly good, as the Gopher big men were held to a collective 5-22 shooting line.  Kudos to Delvon Roe, Idong Ibok, Marquise Gray, and Draymond Green for avoiding any breakdowns inside leading to easy baskets.

Your bar graph:

Lots of positives to talk about in terms of individual players in a game in which 14 Spartans saw the court and 11 of those players scored.  The highlights:

  • Durrell Summers was, once again, the go-to guy on offense.  21 points on 10 FG attempts.  He was hot early, and when he’s hot, he’s very hard to stop.  6’4″ players who can jump really, really high and knock down 3-pointers consistently are a rare asset.
  • Goran Suton didn’t look too hampered by the knee problem: 6 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block in 19 minutes.  A major benefit to the blow-out win was that Izzo could rest Suton for most of the second half.
  • Delvon Roe showed some flashes of playmaking in the paint that have been pretty rare in recent games.  6 points and 7 rebounds in 19 minutes, mirroring Suton’s output.
  • Chris Allen: 13 points on 7 FG attempts.  He still looks a little out of synch, but is at least playing with a modicum of confidence.
  • Korie Lucious: 5 points, 3 assists, 1 turnovers.  I was actually most impressed with Lucious’ defense; he did a good job of staying in front of Al Nolen when Nolen tried to drive the lane in the second half.

If there was a negative in this game it was that Kalin Lucas looked a little off kilter, making just 4 of 14 FG attempts and turning the ball over 3 times.  That’s a very small concern in a 31-point win, though, especially given that Lucas is coming off four consecutive 20-point outings.

This game was just what the doctor ordered.  A home game against Indiana on Saturday (4:00, ESPN) should provide another chance to keep Raymar Morgan on the bench and limit Suton’s minutes (the Hoosiers’ big win tonight notwithstanding).  With any luck, we’ll be back at full strength for next Tuesday’s trip down I-96.

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MSU beats down Iowa 71-56 in a 62-possession game (a regular track meet by Hawkeye standards).  StatSheet box score.

This one played out according to plan–MSU’s plan, that is.  We dominated on the boards (although that edge faded some in the second half), forced Iowa to take a lot of tough 3-point shots (8/26=30.8%), and manged to push the tempo against a tempo-less team (14 fast break points).  There were some early turnover issues, but most of them came from playing aggressively, rather than mental errors.  And Iowa actually ended up turning the ball over one more time than we did.  Your bar graph:

Other than a very brief stretch at about the 7-minute mark of the second half when they allowed Iowa to squeeze the lead down to 9, MSU played arguably its most complete game of the Big Ten season tonight.  They systematically built a 20-point lead over the game’s first 25 minutes, never allowing Iowa to feel like they had a real shot at winning.

Player bullets:

  • What more can you say about Kalin Lucas?  24 points on 13 FG attempts.  His spectacular finishes in the lane are starting to seem a bit mundane at this point.
  • Durrell Summers is emerging as a mini-MoPete (and could take on MoPete’s old six man role once Morgan is back to full health).  21 points on 9 FG attempts.  Three turnovers, but you can live with that when he’s as involved in the offense as he has been the last two games.
  • A Sutonesque performance by Goran Suton: 6 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals.
  • We expected Delvon Roe to get some chances around the rim today.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t put those chances to good use.  He scored only 1 point and turned the ball over 3 times.  10 rebounds in 20 minutes, though.
  • Chris Allen still looked out of sorts (2 turnovers and 4 fouls in 13 minutes), but he did knock down 2 of 3 three-point attempts, so there may be hope.
  • Only 2 points in 8 minutes for Raymar Morgan.  If this virus continues to linger, I wonder if they shouldn’t just shut him down until it’s gone.
  • A combined 6 assists and zero turnovers for Travis Walton and Korie Lucious.  That’s all we really need from those two on offense.
  • Draymond Green played 9 minutes; Marquise Gray played 7.  Green was better tonight against the small Iowa lineup, scoring 4 points off 2 offensive boards.

Defensively, the team played cohesively, switching well on ball screens and recovering quickly on the back side.  Izzo put Suton, rather than Roe, on the fourth Hawkeye perimeter player, allowing Roe to play more at home against the lone Iowa big man in the paint.

At 5-0, we’re now guaranteed a winning conference road record.  And we’ve exceeded our total number of conference road wins over the previous two seasons.  Can’t beat that with a stick.

Next up: A Sunday game against Penn State (noon, BTN) to open a three-game home stretch.

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MSU accelerates past Ohio State 78-67 in a 60-possession game.  Statsheet box score.

This was, of course, a tale of two halves.

The tale of the first half was Durrell Summers single-handedly keeping the team afloat, scoring 16 of the team’s 26 points as the rest of the team struggled with turnovers and 3-point shooting against the Ohio State 3-2 zone.  Even with Summers’ hot hand, I think many of us were right on the verge of abandoning hope, with nightmarish visions of every Big Ten team from here on out playing a zone defense against us for the next two months.

(Note: It occurred to me during the game that we’ve talked very little about missing Drew Neitzel this season.  But we may have forgotten what a big factor his shooting/passing prowess was when teams zoned us up.)

The tale of the second half was as dominant a performance as you could possibly hope for in a Big Ten road game.  MSU outscored Ohio State 52-36, led by Kalin Lucas’ 20 points, all of which came after the break.  (Note: I trust Lucas will correct whatever academic issues led to his benching to start the game; his absence from the court for the first six minutes could have resulted in an even larger hole that MSU wouldn’t have overcome.)

Put it all together and you get this:

Rebounding was the only constant.  MSU actually held the Buckeyes without a single offensive rebound in the first half.  For the game, MSU put up yet another 50% offensive rebounding percentage figure.  Rebounding is to basketball what base running is to baseball: It doesn’t go away when you’re in a shooting/hitting slump.  Today, it led to 15 more field goal attempts for MSU than for Ohio State.

Goran Suton led the way with 9 rebounds, 5 of them offensively.  Durrell Summers chipped in 3 offensive board to go with his career-high 26 points (on 6-9 three-point shooting).

Kalin Lucas was simply masterful in the second half, making five two-point shots–nearly all of them of the spectacular nature–and scoring seven points from the line.

Defensively, this wasn’t a great game for our Spartans.  Ohio State scored over 1.10 points per possession.  Evan Turner (19 points on 6-8 FG shooting), Jon Dielber (12 on 3-6 three-point shooting), William Buford (11 on 3-7 three-point shooting), and B.J. Mullens (12 on 5-9 FG shooting) all got more good looks at the basket than they should have.

But the defense held when it needed to, limiting Ohio State to just one field goal during a five-minute stretch starting at the 12-minute mark of the second half.  MSU, meanwhile, scored 30 point over the game’s final 12 minutes.  The difference in the two teams’ point-guard situations was evident late in the game.

Kudos to Suton, in particular, for his savvy defense on Mullens, who Roe, Ibok, and Gray had all been unable to guard.

And, remarkably, Ohio State actually ended up turning the ball over one more time than we did for the full game.

I’d guess many of the news stories about this game will talk about MSU “growing up” or “getting tougher” today.  But let’s keep in mind this team is now 4-0 on the road in conference play; that’s more conference road wins than they accumulated in nine attempts last season.

This team was already tough.  Wednesday night didn’t change that.

Next up: Another road game–this one at the scene of last year’s greatest tragedy, Iowa City.  Thursday night, 7:00, ESPN/ESPN2 (still hasn’t been finalized, apparently).

P.S. There’s a lot of sentiment out there for basically benching Chris Allen in favor of Summers.  I agree Summers should now clearly be the first perimeter guy off the bench.  But Allen will need to be a factor at some point.  Shooting strokes do come back, and Izzo depth cannot be abandoned.

That being said, the road back for Allen looks pretty long.  He was pump faking and dribbling into double teams today in situations in which he normally would have shot the ball.

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