No. 10 Michigan State (17-5, 6-3) came to Illinois after a week off. The week off certainly didn’t help the Spartan’s shooting effort, as they were cold from the field.
The rap duo Outkast said it best.
The Spartans shot 14/58 for a freezing 24.1%.
Incredibly the Spartans grabbed 18 offensive rebounds but couldn’t make the easy lay ups afterward. The poor shooting coupled with Draymond Green’s angry outburst 5 minutes into the game, left the Spartans without their leader, and without hope.
Sophomore guard Keith Appling has played poorly during the last few games. Appling was only able to score 4 points against Illinois and missed the game winning shot from about 3 feet away. Another negative to take away from this game was Draymond Green’s knee injury.
Green looked to twist his knee with about 5 minutes left in the game, and limped off without putting any pressure on his knee. Green didn’t return which forced Appling to take the game winning shot. It’s clear that the Spartans need a go to player with time winding down, and I’m not sure if Green and Appling are capable of making the game winning shot. Appling had his chance against Illinois, and Green had his against Michigan, and Butler in the Final Four.
The Spartans had a clutch player the last four years in Kalin Lucas. He was always up to throw the dagger in clutch time.
I expect Green to recover and play this Sunday against Michigan, he needs to redeem himself for his poor performance against Illinois and Michigan.
The game was not all negative, Derrick Nix, and Adreian Payne played excellent defense on 7 foot Meyers Leonard, limiting him to only 4 points. That’s the second time the Spartan duo have shut down a future NBA prospect after shutting down Cody Zeller as well. Freshmen Branden Dawson continued his hot streak scoring 12 points, and seemed to attack the rim.
The Spartans are clearly the better team, than Illinois, to shoot 24.1% from the field, and play close to 30 minutes without star Draymond Green, and to only lose by 1 point. That says something. Last year’s team would of lost by 25. These Spartans keep fighting through the worst.