Saturday, January 10, 2009

Michigan State Too Much for Kansas 75-62

Once again, Kalin Lucas led the Spartans to a victory over the Kansas Jayhawks. He finished with 22 points including 3-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Although Sherron Collins ended up with more points (25), Lucas came away with the better overall performance. He clearly is living up to his preseason billing of being one of the best point guards in the nation.

Player of the Game - Kalin Lucas 22 points, 3-4 3-pt

What went well for MSU:
1) Rebounding - The Spartans continued to dominate the boards on both ends of the floor with a +11 margin. They effectively neutralized all of the Kansas rebounders except for Aldrich who still managed to gather 11 missed shots. They did especially well in limiting offensive rebounds holding the Jayhawks to half of their season average (7). For the Spartans, it was a total team effort as four players had five or more rebounds. This is a testament to how much Tom Izzo preaches about winning the rebound margin.
2) Kalin Lucas - He set the tone for the game by hitting early three pointers and snapping the Spartans cold start to the game. He even hit 9 of 10 free throws which has been uncharacteristic of MSU so far this year.
3) Free Throws - The team finished 26-35 from the free throw line which calculates to 74%. What was even more impressive than these stats was that the team shot over 82% in the second half when you would think there would be more pressure on the players to convert their freebees.
4) Defense of TWalt - Travis Walton played outstanding defense on Sherron Collins today. The box score doesn't really correlate with this assessment, however, as Collins finished with 25 points.

What didn't go well for MSU:
1) Goran Suton - He continues to struggle. Throughout his last three games, he has been a liability on the defensive end. Cole Aldrich, however, is a great player and it is probably asking too much for Suton to handle him defensively. Furthermore, Goran was sick and apparently vomiting the night before. He did still manage to hit two long-range jumpers that were key in the second half.
2) Raymar Morgan - Once again, he had a game that looks good on paper with 13 points and 8 rebounds, but I didn't really even notice him out there on the court. To his credit, he hit 7-11 from the line which shows that he was trying to attack the basket, but it still seemed like he dissappeared in another big game. The difference was that instead of going solely through him for offense, Izzo opened things up and allowed Lucas to contribute with regards to scoring. All in all, I'll happily take 13 points and 8 rebounds from Morgan any day.

Why Kansas lost:
1) They ignored Cole Aldrich - In the first few minutes, it was apparent that Suton couldn't guard or score on this guy. Kansas exploited this and got off to an early lead. But, then once Lucas got hot, they got away from getting Aldrich the ball. I think this was a mistake by Bill Self as Cole Aldrich appeared like a dominate force in the paint. I would have tried to slow the game down and feed the big fella' all night.
2) Rebounding - Their strength coming into this game was rebounding, but they soon found out that collectively, the Spartans are a better rebounding team. Aldrich was the only Jayhawk with more than 3 rebounds.
3) Poor free throw shooting - The Jayhawks finished just over 60% for the game, 14% off of their average.

The key to today's victory was obviously the play of Kalin Lucas. Without question, he dominated offensively and again provided the spark that the Spartans needed to get the win. It was nice to see Michigan State come back from such a poor start and then essentialy dictate the rest of the game. It was disappointing, though, to see them let the Jayhawks cut it to within 9 towards the end of the game. I guess I'll just be happy with the victory.

"They [Kansas] could have collapsed in the second half and they didn't. At the same time, you have to give us a little blame. When are we going to learn to finish games?" -Tom Izzo

That is a good question coach. I wonder that everytime that we have a big lead. I think that Coach changes how he coaches games when he gets up on teams and isn't as aggressive. Keep the pedal to the metal coach!

"He [Cole Aldrich] is a really good player, but we're not doing enough to help him out." - Kansas coach Bill Self

I agree coach. It's pretty easy to correct. Just tell your guards to get it to the big man. He's the tall white guy who camps out down in the lane. Feed him! Feed him! Thank you for not perfecting this before playing us.

Vacation - I will be leaving for Jamaica tomorrow and will not be back until Sunday, Jan 18th.
I may be able to make a quick post while on vacay, but I'm unsure. Please check back.

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