Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2001: A Streak-Ending, Overtime Odyssey

Yesterday, the MSU football team won its first bowl game since 2001 with a 33-30 triple-overtime win over Georgia.

Tonight, the MSU men's basketball team won its first game at the Kohl Center in Wisconsin since 2001. But man, was it close.

How close?

So close that the clocks weren't synced (video of the play here). A turnaround, game-tying three-pointer from the Badgers was determined to have been shot too late, after a long review. But it shouldn't have even gotten to that point. Draymond Green, who had made all 15 free throw attempts in the previous game and this one, missed two with 10 seconds left and MSU up three. The Spartans (14-2, 3-0) also didn't foul, which I'm always a fan of in this situation.

As Tom Izzo put it, MSU didn't play well, but they deserved to win.

I didn't see the first half, so no analysis there, but based on the 22-21 score (in favor of Wisconsin), it sounds like there wasn't much to analyze.

In the second half, I saw Keith Appling take a big step forward. Appling finished with 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, two turnovers and some incredible drives to the hoop (see below). Kalin Lucas-esque. Appling also played solid defense on Wisconsin guard Jordan Taylor. Taylor did score 29 points — including 21 of Wisconsin's last 25, but finished with just one assist to four turnovers.

Draymond Green finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds, but had some dumb fouls. He played the final stretch of regulation and all of overtime with four fouls.

As for some other individual performances, Derrick Nix had a solid overtime and finished with eight points and four rebounds (three offensive) in 25 minutes. Austin Thornton is really making a difference on defense. He had six rebounds in the game and also played some good defense on Taylor.

As a team, MSU shot 24-for-60 (40 percent), while holding Wisconsin to 18-for-54 (33 percent). MSU only shot five three-pointers, making two. Just another way this year's team is so much different than last year's. MSU also won the rebounding battle 41-33, but you know Izzo was upset about the final missed rebound that nearly led to the game-tying basket, until the clock bailed them out.

Although the Grateful Red wasn't there, a win at Wisconsin is hard to come by, and now back-to-back teams have done so.

Now the Spartans get a week off before welcoming the previous team that won at the Kohl Center: Iowa. Still a lot of work to be done, but Tom Izzo can't be upset about being 3-0 in a deep Big Ten, nor about being on a 14-game winning streak.

Some Spartan demons have been exorcised in the last two days, and it took everything for it to happen.

1 comment:

  1. I was impressed with the mental toughness by the Spartan team to grind out the win as coach said. I always thought Kalin would lead us to victory there but I am happy to see this team breaks it.
    Lots of work still left to do but I see a solid rotation shaping up and AT and BK playing gr8 defense on Taylor last night barring the last minute. The rebound bothered me in the end but overall we out muscled them in the paint, which I am very glad of.
    The ceiling is bright for this team and lets hope we can spring a few surprises on the way. Go Green!