Thursday, December 20, 2012

Michigan State basketball finishes off pesky BGSU squad

Anyone. Anywhere.

That has been somewhat of the motto of the Michigan State basketball program in recent years under Athletic Director Mark Hollis and Head Coach Tom Izzo.

This motto has taken the team countless places, from playing at Ford Field against Kentucky, to playing on an aircraft carrier against North Carolina, all the way to opening up this season on an air force base in Germany against Connecticut.

However, when one hears of this motto, they don’t always think of Michigan State traveling to take on a MAC school exactly one week before Christmas.

But with Michigan State nothing is ever out of the question. That’s because on Tuesday, they did exactly that by traveling down south a bit to take on a pesky Bowling Green squad.

It’s not the first time that Michigan State has traveled to play in Bowling Green though. The last time they met there was on December 1, 1990. In that game, the Spartans were coming in ranked 5th in the country coming off of a Big Ten Championship. They also had one of the best players in the country in Steve Smith on their side but all of this added up wasn’t enough as the unranked Falcons hung on to upset the Spartans 98-55.

This loss spurred long time Michigan State head coach Jud  Heathcote to say “we’re never coming back here again.”

Nevertheless, on Tuesday night Michigan State was right back where they were 22 years ago and for a while it looked Bowling Green would be able to pull off another upset.

Once again, as they have many times this season. the Spartans started out very slow and very sloppy, turning the ball over countless times in the 1st half, sputtering to just a 34-29 lead at the half.

In the second half, Bowling Green continued to hang around for a very long time when coaches-son Chauncey Orr hit a shot to tie the game up at 45 about midway through the second half.

However, after that, Orr left the game with cramps and Bowling Green failed get much going on the offensive side of the ball and Michigan State used 14-2 run to pull away late and take the game 64-53.

Freshmen Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine led the way for the Spartans with 12 points apiece while sophomore Branden Dawson chipped in with 10 points and 7 rebounds.

Bowling Green was led by Orr, who finished with a career high 16 points and also pesky 5’6” guard Jordon Crawford who wound up with 10 points and 7 assists.

With this final supposed cupcake game in the past and B1G conference play right around the corner, there is still one glaring problem for this Michigan State team. And this being turnovers. Tuesday night, they had 14 of them, six of which coming from junior point guard Keith Appling, something you don’t want to see from your primary ball handler. On the season, the Spartans are averaging over 15 turnovers a game and this is absolutely something they’re going to want to get sorted out as the season wears on.
For Michigan State, this win improves the Spartans to 10-2 on the season and they have one more game against Texas on Saturday before B1G conference play begins.

Follow Ryan Squanda on twitter @squandarunner.
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