Saturday, December 17, 2011

Second-half surge pushes Spartans past Bowling Green

It seems it's becoming a regular occurrence when the MSU hoops team faces a lesser opponent at Breslin: an ugly first half followed by a fairly-dominating second half.

Bowling Green was the victim this time, as MSU won its ninth straight, this one by a 74-60 score.

Without the Izzone in the crowd, the Spartans were as sluggish as the fans in the first half. MSU didn't turn the ball over much, but the Falcons were all over the boards early. A pair of free throws from Nix with a second left gave MSU a 35-33 at half.

A look at the stats at the break showed MSU looked pretty good, except for one area. MSU shot nearly 45 percent, held the Falcons to 37 percent and only had a few turnovers, but the smaller Bowling Green team outrebounded MSU 25-16, including 13 offensive boards.

Bowling Green scored the first bucket of the second half, but MSU responded with a 20-3 run, highlighted by some Derrick Nix dunks. Nix could have scored at least 20 if he made some bunny layups later in the half. Nix finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.

It was no coincidence MSU pulled away once they began pounding the boards. The Spartans outrebounded the Falcons 23-12 in the second half and finished the game with a 39-37 edge on the glass. MSU's biggest lead was 17 points.

Bowling Green came into the game averaging just 12.3 turnovers per game, putting them in the top-50 in the nation in that category. MSU forced the Falcons into 15 turnovers for the game, recording six steals in the process.

Keith Appling had another quiet night, this time due to foul trouble. Appling finished with just three points, shooting 1-for-4 from the field. Brandon Wood led MSU in scoring with 16 points and shot 3-for-5 from three-point range. Draymond Green finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. The Spartans shot 47 percent from the field and held Bowling Green to 38 percent.

The Spartans have two nonconference games left, hosting UMKC on Monday and Lehigh on Thursday.

(Here's BTN video of a nice Trice block in the second half. Shades of Korie Lucious against UNC)

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