The Spartans closed the regular season by getting a hard fought victory over Purdue. The Boilermakers were un able to overcome poor second half shooting as they lost to Michigan State 62-51. The Spartans were led by Kalin Lucas who had 21 points.
Player of the Game: Kalin Lucas (21 points, 5 rebs, 4 assists)
What Went Well for the Spartans
1) Defense - I will go ahead and blame Purdue's poor shooting on excellent Spartan defense although the Boilermakers looked like they missed a lot of open looks. Travis Walton continued his defensive hot streak and seemed to be all over the place. As a team, we also held Purdue to 4-23 from behind the three-point line.
2) Kalin Lucas - Kalin had a much better game than his 6 turnovers and 6-14 stat line showed. He did a great job directing the Spartan offense and was able to score effectively when he needed to. I wonder what was up with the undershirt?
3) Second Half Free Throw Shooting - When it looked like this game was going to come down to a free throw contest, the Spartans responded well by finishing 17-23 in the second half. Kalin was 7-8, while Suton and Allen were both 4-4.
What Didn't Go Well for Michigan State
1) Defensive Rebounding - Purdue is not a very good offensive rebounding team, but you would not have known it yesterday, especially in the first half. The Boilermakers finished with 12 offensive rebound for the game which is much higher than their season average. Maybe this was due to their unusually poor shooting from the floor.
2) Turnovers - We finished with 19 turnovers yesterday. Obviously, this is way too many. While I insist on getting the ball down low, we can't dump it in if it isn't open. Purdue was doing a great job denying our post men and we tried to force it too many times yesterday. We also had some careless turnovers in the open floor, especially in the second half. Raymar Morgan, what were you doing yesterday with just over 2 minutes left trying to throw the ball the length of the court?
3) Converting Offensive Rebounds - Yesterday's game looked just like the one at Purdue in this respect. We were missing point blank put backs that should have been easy twos. I guess we will have to credit Purdue's defense because this was the second game in a row that this has happened.
4) Poor Shooting - We finished 18-53 which was good for 35%. Much of this has to do with Purdue's defense, but this must improve in the post season.
I was pumped up after we won yesterday. After all, we beat the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten and won the conference by a four game margin. That is unbelievable.
After looking at the stats, however, my excitement quickly faded. 19 turnovers. 35% shooting. That's not exactly stellar. Did we win this game or did Purdue's poor shooting lose it? I mean, they only scored 20 points in the second half. I don't think too many NCAA tournament teams are going to have that happen against us in the future.
If nothing else, this game showed me that we haven't found an answer to our turnover problems, and when facing a great defense, our offense still struggles. I don't know if Izzo can correct either of these two things before the NCAA tournament. If he doesn't, we will be in a world of hurt.
Other Game Thoughts
1) Future Spartan Trivia Question - Who is the only Michigan State player to kiss the Spartan S twice? Ibok almost spent more time kissing the floor than he did standing on it yesterday. Actually, when he did play, he was busy being confused on which player to gaurd on pick and rolls. He left the shooter open twice yesterday.
Congratulations to Ryan in North Carolina for winning the latest "Greatest Stories of Michigan State Basketball" DVD. I will send it out this week.