2 For 2: Spartan Football Wins a Championship & #1 Cagers Win One Here in Brooklyn! Izzo's Spartans Beat OU 87-76

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23 November 2013

Barclays Center

Brooklyn, NY

 

Spartans 87Â Oklahoma 76

 

 Michigan State started the game off sluggishly.  Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger (former Illini coach) was more than happy to take the early lead in this contest by making Michigan State play half court offense. At the ten-minute mark of the first half MSU came alive behind the shooting of Gary Harris.

 

Oklahoma forward Cameron Clark torched the Spartans early by scoring 16 of Oklahoma’s 24 points midway through the first. He was a one-man wrecking crew.Â

 

Once Michigan State started to defend better their fast break came alive and they were off and running. Adreian Payne was scoreless in the first half. Branden Dawson carried the interior load for MSU while Denzel Valentine dished out five beautiful assists.

 

Valentine was the difference in the first half bringing the energy to the court after a sluggish start. The Spartans closed out the first half with a 26-5 run.

 

Michigan State opened up a considerable lead early in the second half. It looked as if MSU was well on its way to earning a second blowout in two days when the whistles started blowing and Oklahoma started pressing. MSU was forced to sit Appling who picked up his third foul and MSU’s offense went out of synch.

 

At the midway point in the second half, Appling returned to the lineup and MSU’s offense got back on track, but the referees weren’t done dictating the flow of the game. Tom talked about the oddball line-ups he was forced to play due to foul trouble; this is what he had to say. “We had bizarre line-ups in there, but good teams find a way to win… champions in both football and basketball in one day, awesome.”

 

Tom also talked about Keith Appling (24 points) and Branden Dawson’s (18 points, 10 boards) special night. “I think Keith just put it on his back… we were running out of options. Give Oklahoma a lot of credit. I think maybe an unsung hero for us was Branden Dawson. Branden Dawson was kind of in there by himself when Adreian went out.  He played the four and the three. He had to guard the two-guard and the five-man. He gets a double / double. ”

 

It wasn’t a pretty performance, but MSU gutted out one of those signature Izzo wins that typically show up in March. These tournaments are all about getting prepared to play in the post season. MSU arrived as the #1 team in college basketball. With a championship trophy in tow, they’ll arrive back in East Lansing unblemished and still #1.