Costly Errors Too Much To Overcome in Austin

Hondo S. Carpenter

They say that everything in Texas is bigger and better, if only that wasn’t the case. If only college basketball games lasted 34 minutes instead of 40, then the Spartan Nation would be celebrating Christmas early. They would have packed their bags and headed back north with an amazing win against the number two team in the nation.

TEXASMASCOT

Well…that wasn’t the case. Instead, the Spartans head home having lost to the Longhorns 79-68. For those first 34 minutes it was an amazing, hard fought basketball game.

The Spartans game plan was to shut down the passing lanes and put an impenetrable steep wall around the middle. They executed it well. Reminiscent of the Florida game, the Spartans gave up way too many turnovers. In a game of this magnitude, their twenty-two turnovers really beat themselves tonight.

I spoke with Kalin Lucas after the game.  Both Kalin and I agreed that mental mistakes simply cost them and he concurred, “Mental mistakes cost us…you’re right.” I wish I wasn’t.

Delvon Roe when searching for answers to what went wrong called it, “Just turnovers.” Tom Izzo, frank as always declared, "We looked a little fatigued and not hungry enough."

Izzo summed up his team’s game here in simple terms, "It was almost like they turned it up two notches," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "They responded, and we didn't."

The Spartans mistakes were puzzling. They didn’t pay attention to the shot clock, giving Texas UNCONTESTED three pointers coming out of a time out, missed lay ups and turnovers. All of those errors cost them the game.  Lucas did not have a good game and the scoring droughts were hard to overcome. When you consider the way MSU played, it is incredible that they were even in it.

What bothered me most about this loss is that it was there for the taking. The Spartans are very good. They are very talented, but they aren’t good enough to play through the mistakes they made. They shot forty-four percent, which isn’t a terrible percentage on the road, but it’s not good enough with all of the other errors that occurred.

After the game Kalin Lucas wasn’t happy with his teammates. Several times this year you have seen guys jawing back with Izzo and he likes that, but as with everything there is a fine line you can cross. Lucas certainly thinks some of his teammates have. “Coach knows how to win, he does know how to win,” referring to guys talking too much and jawing when Izzo is talking. “We don’t need to be doing that.”

Lucas is right, but that isn’t cause for the Spartan Nation to panic. That is part of the maturation of an Izzo coached team. They talk because Izzo lets them and HE will adjust them. As for now, Izzo thought of his teams Longhorn visit, "We took a step."

The Spartan crowd did there best to neutralize the home court. There were not a huge contingent of Spartans, but they were loud. Even one Texas media member told me, “Those people are embarrassing the other 15,000 Horns fans.”

Lastly, I look for funny content to put on the sight when I am traveling. At the behest of a good friend on mine, I will occasionally post them. From here in Texas I take you to the men’s restroom. A sign, in the men’s restroom loudly declares to the men that are leaving it, “Drinking alcohol can damage your unborn babies brain?”

Merry Christmas. I would have liked this win, but I can tell you that talking to Rick Barnes the Texas head coach, this Longhorn team knows that MSU helped them out tonight and I bet he isn’t as excited about a potential NCAA Big Dance rematch as Izzo is.

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