Spartans Struggle Again, But Find A Way To Beat Indiana 84-83

Hondo S. Carpenter

 

Derrick Nix's impressive play helps inspire a lackluster Spartan team.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.
Derrick Nix's impressive play helps inspire a lackluster Spartan team. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

East Lansing, MI

Breslin Center

 

The Spartans improved their unimpressive season record to 13-8 (5-4) by beating an IU team in overtime they should have crushed today. With a talent gap wider than the Grand Canyon MSU turned the light on late and got the W.

 

It was the Spartans third Big Ten overtime game (all at the Breslin) and it followed the same pattern. Spartans come out against a mediocre team on cruise control. Decide late they should probably turn it on, do and win it in OT. Dangerous.

 

If you are a Spartan fan looking for anything that you could think turned the season around, you can’t. It was another example of why this team continues to disappoint. A win is a win however and more relieved than happy about the win, Izzo said, “I know fans are frustrated with us, but they sure got their money’s worth with these three games.” Referring to his teams three over time games.

 

He went on to say, “I still think they outplayed us for most of the game. I don’t think it was a lack of effort on our part…Our defense at times was phenomenal and at times not very good.”

 

Indiana head coach Tom Crean’s take on the game was, “So many steps for our program that we are trying to take. As a coach you go on the road with your guys and team and there is a strong belief that you are going to win…We did everything but today…The blueprint that this program was built on at Michigan State is the same I am using here…We took steps today we just didn’t get the win to show for it…We really felt we could win the game.”

 

Spartan Nation has clamored for Izzo to go big and today he remembered that his once elite recruit Derrick Nix was on the bench and played him. Nix had nine points, three boards and three assists. He would have had eight assists, but his teammates couldn’t make a shot.

 

The big fella Nix who is from Detroit said of his performance after the game to me, “I proved to a lot of people that I can play at this level. Simple as that. Now I have to prove I can do it on a consistent basis.”

 

MSU’s starting slow and turning it on is indicative of why this team has struggled. No one is intimidated to play them or at the Breslin anymore. They have to play better and frankly a win is great today, but other than Nix they are not improving.

 

They did have only eight turnovers and tied the Hoosiers in rebounds. Indiana had 25 bench points while MSU got all of their total of nine from Nix. Adreian Payne and Garrick Sherman had a head shaking six combined minutes of play.

 

The basketball gods are smiling on the Spartans who head to Iowa City next for a Tuesday night duel with the Big Ten’s lone sacrificial lamb the Hawkeyes. Unfortunately the Spartans seem to struggle equally with the teams we expect them to beat and the ones we expect them to struggle with. 

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