Spartans Go on the Road and Beat the Gophers 53-48

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The Spartans came in and won at one of the most historic basketball arenas in the nation:  The Barn.
The Spartans came in and won at one of the most historic basketball arenas in the nation: The Barn.

 

The Barn

Minneapolis, MN

 

I should have known it would be ugly when I showed up for tonight’s game and they didn’t have my media credential. I couldn’t wait so I bought a quick ticket outside and was frazzled to start it out scrambling.

 

It appeared that the Spartans were also discombobulated to start it out. In a game that head coach Tom Izzo described afterward as, “We’re not pretty,” they somehow found a way to win 53-48. 

 

If I had told you prior to this Big Ten showdown that MSU would look ugly and shoot only 36%, you would have thought about the Iowa debacle from earlier in the season. If I had added that they would be out rebounded (32-28) you would have thought it even more certain that the Spartans got blown out. You would have been wrong. Izzo was right that it wasn’t pretty, but unlike Iowa his team played gutsy and tough and somehow found a way.

 

Kalin Lucas once again carried the team offensively; he had 18 points and four steals. Even more amazing is that he played 39 of the 40 minutes, again. No other Spartan was in double digits in scoring. Draymond Green had ten boards to lead the Spartans.

 

Kalin said after the game about his teams big road win and of yet another heroic performance, “I feel good. My Achilles feel good and my body feel good. Just want to be in attack mode all the time.”  He said of the importance of getting this late season road win that, “It was very important for us to get this win and keep taking them on one at a time.”

 

Durrell Summers continued to struggle, but hit a key three down the stretch. He came off the bench for the second straight game and shot three for eleven and had seven points. Izzo said afterwards, “Poor Rell (Durrell) couldn’t make one, but had a big one down the stretch.”

 

The Spartans have now won eight Big Ten games this season. Six of those wins they were trailing at the half as they were here in the Barn.   The Spartans now find themselves sitting at 16-11 on the season and 8-7 in the Big Ten.

 

Delvon Roe can’t hide the limp and the pain, but a stat line once again couldn’t measure his play. He played 22 minutes and who knows if he should have played any. The Spartans wouldn’t have won without his tough and smart play, regardless of whether or not his contributions get mentioned in a stat sheet.

 

The Spartans pulled away pressing and running, something I thought they should have been doing the entire game. With a Minnesota team having a QB who isn’t a true point guard because of injury and team issues to other players, I think they could have exploited it earlier. Frankly who cares what I think because they got the W. The Spartans ended the contest with an incredible 14-1 run.

The Spartans next game is on Sunday. They play the Boilermakers of Purdue and MSU can use a little time off to rest and heal up. The game Sunday is at 1 PM at home in the friendly confines of the Breslin Center. 

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