Monday, December 19, 2011

Spartans take care of UMKC, 89-54

Yes it was against Missouri-Kansas City, but the MSU hoops team put in its most complete performance of the year with a 89-54 win over the Kangaroos, extending the winning streak to 10 games. And yes, they're really called the Kangaroos. Awesome. (Highlights from

This one was never really in doubt, as MSU jumped out to a 16-2 lead and never looked back. MSU shot a season-high 61.4 percent from the field, including 48 points in the paint. Eleven different Spartans scored.

The star of the night was Branden Dawson, who scored on an alley-oop off the tip-off and had a career-high 16 points. He also grabbed four rebounds and had some powerful dunks (see below). After seeming being mentally out of the past few games, Dawson was all over the place on both sides of the floor. Maybe he's getting out of his funk.

After a quiet few games, Keith Appling turned in a solid performance handling the ball, dishing out  a career-high eight assists while committing two turnovers. Appling finished with seven points on 3-for-6 shooting

Draymond Green again nearly reached a triple-double, finishing with 10 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Brandon Wood was perfect from the field, finishing with 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting, including 4-for-4 from three.

UMKC guard Reggie Chamberlain came into the game averaging 19 points per game, but was held to two points, including zero in the first half, while shooting 1-for 8 from the field (0-for-5 from three). That was mostly due to Appling. MSU's defense held UMKC to 37.7 percent shooting (20-for-53) and the Kangaroos turned the ball over 12 times, partly due to MSU's eight steals, continuing that trend.

UMKC's offense is built around three-point shooting, and the Spartans were ready. The Kangaroos came into the game shooting 38 percent from behind the arc, but shot 6-for-21 (28.6 percent) from three in the game.

An otherwise-boring game had another story when Derrick Nix went down in the second half after rolling his left ankle on a rebound attempt. Nix left without putting any weight on the ankle, but returned the bench walking fine. He later headed back to the locker room still walking fine after telling Tom Izzo he was good to go. Better safe than sorry. Losing Nix would have spelled bad news for the Spartans.

After a bad night on the glass against Bowling Green, the Spartans were better on the boards Monday night, outrebounding the Kangaroos 37-27 (This is where you insert the jumping joke). MSU did shoot 11-for-22 from the free-throw line, but only two of those shots were from a guard. Seven of the misses were from Adreian Payne and Alex Gauna.

Up next is Lehigh for the final nonconference tune-up before welcoming Indiana to Breslin. Game is at 9 p.m. (yikes) on Thursday on ESPNU.

(Here is video of a powerful Dawson dunk in the first half. Click on the link if the embed doesn't work. Embedding BTN video always seems to be a problem).

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