As far as getting the ball to their best shooters, Michigan State's Spartans still don't seem to quite get it
A home-floor 61-57 weekend win over Illinois brought MSU back to the NCAA tournament bubble with a record of 15-11 overall, and 7-7 in the Big Ten Conference.
Michigan State played hard and clinched the win with a nice stretch run that broke a 51-51 tie. Coach Tom Izzo noted that the team showed solid character, as Delvon Roe played with a bum knee and Draymond Green hung in there despite a severe case of stomach flu. But still, the shot selection left much to be desired, especially in the first half
Kalin Lucas took 19 shots from his point guard sport, as well he should. He's been playing great ball as of late and seems to be bouncing back from horrible Achilles injury last March. It's fantastic to see him back in last year's Big Ten Player of the Year form. He canned nine of those shots for 25 points, but there is still some overemphasis on three-point tries. Lucas missed five of six of them.
The Spartans' third-leading shot-taker was Lucas' fellow senior, off guard Durrell Summers. The young fellow is struggling so poorly, you have to feel bad for him. Remember when Eric Snow played for Michigan State, and he had a stretch where he couldn't seem to make a free throw? Summers' mental block is from the floor. He made just one of seven shots. He can't break a slump without shooting, but when you're at 33 percent for the season, why include four triple tries. The thing to do is take the rock to the basket.
Young Keith Appling continues to impersonate his elders in the backcourt. He tried nine shots and hit three. Four of the attempts were triples and he sank just one.
As a team, the Spartans were a paltry 3 for 15 from beyond the arc.
What's so frustrating in all this is that Michigan State does have players who can score the ball inside. Roe is averaging 61 percent for the season but he only shoots about four times per game. Derrick Nix is at 62 percent and Andreian Payne average 54 percent, but each of them only gets a couple of tries per game.
More shots for the big guys. That should be Michigan State's focus.
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