No. 17 Spartans trounce Arkansas-Pine Bluff
by Joe Rexrode, USA TODAY Sports
Hopeless from the start, Arkansas-Pine Bluff narrowly avoided going a quarter of a basketball game without a point when Mitchell Anderson dropped in a fast-break layup with 10:12 left in the first half Wednesday.
By then, Michigan State had 14 points – despite missing 10 shots, seven of them from three-point range and all of them good looks.
Then the Spartans went on a 16-2 run. So yeah, that’s the kind of night it was at Breslin Center, as non-competitive as the 76-44 final score indicated.
It also resulted in the angriest post-game Tom Izzo of the season. Angry about 19 turnovers, 17 offensive rebounds allowed, too much sloppiness and lethargy, and his own decision to play a large number of players.
“And that is gonna stop,” he said.
Izzo said No. 17 MSU (7-2) had some good “moments” but also “a lot of moments when what we did was not acceptable at all.”
If the Spartans got any value out of Wednesday, it was in a full night of working against a zone defense.
“That was decent,” Izzo shrugged.
And the Spartans clearly need it – they hit just 7 of 25 (28%) from three-point range and committed their second-highest turnover total of the season against the small-but-quick Golden Lions (1-7). MSU gave it away just 20 times combined in the previous two games.
“It’s just a lack of concentration,” Izzo said, “a lack of discipline and probably a lack of people playing together.”
The Spartans countered that by collecting 21 assists on their 28 baskets, a strong ratio of 75%.
MSU also continued to get guards Gary Harris and Travis Trice back up to game speed in the third game with both of them back in the lineup.
Harris scored a team-high 13 points, while Trice scored 12 off the bench with a game-high five assists.
Branden Dawson had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Spartans, who collected 19 offensive rebounds but gave up 17.
And the Spartans avoided injury, though the less-than-capacity crowd went silent with 7:42 left and Adreian Payne rolling around on the floor in pain.
Payne turned his left ankle, but he was able to return moments later … [For more on No. 17 Spartans trounce Arkansas-Pine Bluff, click here.]