“Manhandled” Michigan State Spartans Fall to Georgetown 64-60 At Historic Madison Square Garden
The #7 Michigan State Spartans marched into the Mecca of college basketball (the Garden) today on Super Bowl weekend and saw their season record fall to 19-3 (8-1) with a 64 to 60 loss to the Hoyas of Georgetown. It wasn’t pretty and the game was ill advised.
Spartans’ head Coach Tom Izzo summed up the Hoyas in simple terms saying, “I thought they manhandled us.” Those are tough indicting words from a man who forged this program out of toughness.
The Spartans are now 2-10 all time in the historic Madison Square Garden, but this loss was on them. They lost to an inferior opponent that simply wanted it more. Izzo said it best, “Disappointing but not upsetting.” In their defense Keith Appling and Gary Harris looked exhausted.
The story will be the lack of interior presence by MSU, but you can easily quell those worries as being season ending because their two best interior players (Adreian Payne/Branden Dawson) will be back. The bigger story was MSU simply missing chances.
Tom Izzo started Alex Gauna in this game. In part, Izzo explained, because, “I changed the lineup again because Kaminski couldn’t find the classroom…again.” That is disheartening.
How many chances did MSU miss? Gary Harris was the leading scorer, but he was 7 of 16. The Spartans shot an abysmal 40% and had 16 turnovers. The Hoyas also had the rebounding edge 35-29. MSU also shot a horrific 56% from the free throw line.
Izzo said of the futility from the charity stripe, “Missed free throws from our best free throw shooters is starting to be an issue.” He went on to add, “I don’t get to shoot them , I sure as hell wouldn’t miss them.”
The Spartans had numerous open shots that they missed, and poor passes and turnovers plagued them along with rebounding woes. Without Payne and Dawson you can understand the rebounding issues, but a failure to block out by those on the court is unacceptable and effort related.
Playing an out of conference game mid conference season was good from a PR perspective, but not playing would have been more beneficial for a banged up Spartan team that needed rest with eyes on a national title.
I understand MSU wanting the publicity, but playing Keith Appling 36 minutes and miraculously avoiding further enhancing his already delicate injury situation was too risky. You couldn’t have seen the injuries of players coming into the campaign, but with the expectations on this season entering it, it wasn’t wise.
The Spartans next game brings them home to the friendly confines of Breslin Center and back to conference play. They will host Penn State on Thursday with a 9 PM tipoff that you can see on ESPN.
Branden Dawson at best will return late February, at worst Mid-March. Adreian Payne will resume running Sunday and hopefully start practicing Monday. He remain on course at this time for a Thursday return against the Nittany Lions.