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Spartans Dominate in First Exhibition of the Season 88-44 Over SVSU


Tom Izzo took time tonight during the game to coach his suspended star guard Korie Lucious.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Tom Izzo took time tonight during the game to coach his suspended star guard Korie Lucious. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

East Lansing, MI

Breslin Center


They call games like the one I just witnessed between Saginaw Valley State and MSU exhibitions for the same reason they call them that in the NFL. They are meaningless profit driven events that benefit both schools. 


This one was as uneventful, you could almost call it boring and the outcome was never in doubt. The Spartans whipped the Cardinals 88 to 44 and only the score was in doubt. On their way out the door for playing the road kill for the Spartans SVSU picked up a nice pay check ($15,000) that is sure to help a division II schools anemic athletic budget and the Spartans get a glorified practice in which they stop beating each other up.


It may not be as exciting as MSU vs. UM (Some may say that has become an exhibition), but it is crucial and valuable this time of year. The Spartans get valuable “Game experience” for their youngsters and stars like Kalin Lucas returning from injury log some minutes.


There were two great highlights during the game. The first was with 3:33 left in the first half Kalin Lucas was at the line shooting a free throw. Draymond Green tried to do his best acting job (he needs to take lessons from the Spartans resident thespian Delvon Roe) to make the ref think he was fouled while boxing out. The ref promptly informed him, “You aren’t a good actor.” Green broke out in his trademark smile and it was a good-hearted moment. Green was still amused after the game when I asked him about it after the game, “It was pretty funny. I thought I could maybe get away with it. It was pretty funny though.”


The second highlight was with 15:12 left in the second half Spartan senior guard Mike Kebler broke away for a nice dunk. The crowd favorite from Okemos was thrilled with the play and said afterwards, “I have been waiting a while to do that. It didn’t have much bounce, but a dunk is a dunk.”

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All in all Izzo is known to invent reasons to be angry about after losses, but it was hard tonight. He nit picked, but did confess, “I think we played pretty well.”


SVSU head coach Frankie Smith told me after the game (in his very distinctive West Virginia accent outside his locker room) when I asked him if this looked like a preseason top five team, “All capitals. A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y and 18 exclamations points after it! They don’t have a weakness. I couldn’t find one player or place on that team where they are weak. The last two years have been special with trips to the Final Four and a national championship game appearance, but this season will be even more special when they win it.”


Kalin Lucas led the Spartans with 13 points while Durrell Summers, Draymond Green and Keith Appling dropped in 12.


Delvon Roe lead the way with eight rebounds and Draymond Green led with six assists.


All three freshmen had good first performances. Adreian Payne had five points including a nice three point shot, six rebounds and 3 blocks while playing 17 minutes.


Keith Appling scored 12 points, had two assists, one steals while playing 23 minutes and Alex Gauna was very impressive scoring six points, one board while playing eight minutes.


The Spartans play next on Monday when Nebraska-Omaha comes to town.