MSU dropped an overtime thriller at Kentucky 82-74 this past Tuesday night, and although it’s perfectly acceptable to be proud of the team’s efforts, as March nears, we’re beginning to learn more and more about just what kind of team this is.
“We’ve got to be better offensively,” said head coach Ben Howland after the final buzzer, “We really struggled offensively - we shot 29% - but we had a number of shots at the basket that we just didn’t finish. And we missed a few foul shots in the first half. We just can’t allow that.”
Fast forward to the second half, though, and the Bulldogs lit up the stat sheet, outscoring the Wildcats by 13 points of their own in the second half to force overtime. The team showed fight, and it was spearheaded by their do-it-all man in the backcourt.
Iverson Molinar set another career-high in terms of single-game scoring with 30 points in the outing, seemingly willing his team into contention as the clock wound down. Although Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe finished with a 20-and-20 double-double, Molinar showed the entire country once more that he’s as legit as anybody in the country when it comes to pro-potential.
This is the fourth loss the Bulldogs have suffered due in large part to coming out of the gates flat footed on one or both sides of the floor, with the other three coming against Minnesota, Ole Miss and Louisville - none of which has faired very well since then.
Point being, when this team shows up and plays for a full 40 minutes, they can compete with anyone in the country, as was shown tonight. The problem, though, is that they haven’t been able to do it as often as need be. That’s something Ben Howland and company will have to address and fix as March is looming around the corner, and the Bulldogs face off against another top-15 team on the road this Saturday against Texas Tech.
That game tips off at 5 p.m. and will be aired on ESPN 2, giving the Bulldogs another chance to secure a much needed Quadrant 1 win on the national stage.