Today fans at the Breslin Center got treated to their second thriller in less than a week when MSU needed overtime to down the Upstart Northwestern Wildcats. This was the second meeting between the two teams this season and the 2nd time the Spartans squeaked out a victory. The Wildcats are proving that there will be no easy games this season in the Big Ten and that there team colors and pride are just as important as any other school in the country.
The Spartans came out a tad sluggish in the early going and were trailing the Wildcats by as much as 8 in the first half and went in to the locker room down by 5 at halftime. Biggest strength of the Spartans in the first half was their ability to rebound and start the fast break which was orchestrated perfectly by forward Delvon Roe. In the first minute of the game Roe reached up to block a John Shurna shot and taking the ball down the floor leading to a two point bucket by Kalin Lucas. Michigan State struggled to get in to a rhythm offensively in the first half and they trailed Northwestern by five going into the second half. After the intermission Spartans were able to gage the adversity of being down at home by getting key production from their bench and shutting down Northwestern star John Shurna, who was averaging 20.1 points per game coming into this one but finished with 6 points. 1 key member of the Spartans comeback was Freshman guard Kieth Appling, who finnished with a game high 19 and hit a key three late in the second and iced two key free throws in overtime. Appling hit a clutch three pointer with 3 minutes remaining which was his fourth three pointer at that point giving the Spartans a narrow one point edge. After trading baskets back and forth Northwestern had a lead late but Michigan State didn’t quit and got 4 clutch free throws from Draymond Green at the line to send the game in to OT. Green continued to give the Spartans momentum heading into overtime when he picked off a Northwestern pass 2 minutes in to OT and slammed it home leading to home crowd roar. On the next possession Kieth Appling was found wide open on the wing and barried his fifth three pointer of the game and followed that up with two more free throws late to secure a State victory. The Freshman marveled me in terms of his poise and his confidence for a player his age sinking 5 three pointers and adding to the long list of players Tom Izzo can use on any given night. Last week against Wisconsin we saw Draymond Green light up the Badgers for 26 points getting points in the paint and draining three pointers from beyond the arc. The Spartans have players who can score from all areas of the court which makes them perfectly capable of winning tight games come back from deficits proving that this week winning back to back Overtime games. What also should be recognized is the defensive play of Delvon Roe who held The Wildcats top scorer John Shurna to only six points and 2-10 shooting. Delvon’s play may go unnoticed on the stats sheet but it definitely didn’t slip under my radar or Izzo’s radar and he will likely see more monitues against opposing teams top big men going forward. shutting down their top scorer however didn’t keep the Wildcats from making this one interesting as they got some timely scoring from other players such as Drew Crawford pitching in with 16 and Michael Thompson adding 15 points. Michigan State did a great job game planning for John Shurna and frustrated him all night and credit should be given to Delvon Roe who impressed me so much on the defensive side of the ball and created energy for the Spartans all game. Getting 5 blocks in this game and leading the surge for the fast rush allowed the Spartans to attack the open floor and gave this offense some spunk all around the floor.
Having kind of games that Delvin Roe and Kieth Appling had are great signs of their progression being a part of the younger core of this team, and their pressence can be counted on again when they start facing stiffer competition later this week with dates at Illinois and at Purdue. The Spartans have little time to savor this game with a date against the Illini on Tuesday. The Illini poses one of the best point guards in the country in Dmitry Mcamey and have a good blend of youth and veteran leadership to contend with anybody especially when Mcamey shoots over 45% from three point land. Illinois is coming off two tough road losses to Penn State and Wisconsin and has back to back home games against Michigan State and against the undefeated Buckeyes. MSU matches up favorably against the Ilinni on the glass with Draymond Green averaging (8.9 rebounds) and Delvon Roe (averaging 5.9 rebounds) this is a game where they can most certainly take away any second chance opportunities and get some fast break points. Overall it was a good week for the Sparty’s and beating two tough teams at home in overtime is going to be good for this teams toughness going forward and could lead to healthy stretch of wins down the road.
About the Author
Written by Colin Teskey
I Started watching sports at the ripe age of 4 when Michael Jordan was leading the Chicago Bulls to their second three-peat and sixth NBA title. It was through Jordan’s play that inspired me to become an avid sports fan and that you can accomplish anything through hard work. Sports are remarkable in how they can capture your everyday life by leaving you speechless after some spectacular play, leave you depressed after your home team loses, and lift and entire city to its feet( New Orleans Saints).My favorite Sports Teams go as followed for Basebal,l I am a die hard Blue Jays Fan. Gotta rep Canada on this one as the Toronto Blue Jays are the only Canadian team left now that the Expos packed up and left. Joe Carter, Roberto Alomar, and Doc Halladay are my all time favorite Jays. For Football, I've pledged my allegiance to the Philadelphia Eagles. I became a fan when the Mcnabb and T.O show were in town and both helped lead the Eagles all the way to the Superbowl in 2004. My next two favourite teams are my top two and the ones I follow the closest. As I alluded to earlier Michael Jordan was who I grew up watching so I naturally became a Bulls Fan. The Bulls of the nineties were by far the best team ever assembled and I challenge anybody who argues that. Micheal Jordan deserves a lot of credit but he wouldn't have been nearly the player he was without Pippen, Rodman, and many more great teamates. I can't even see the current Miami Heat roster breaking the 95-95 teams record of going 72-10 which may never be broken.My all time Favorite team are the Ottawa Senators. I bleed red and gold and will always be a Sens fan no matter how bad they are. Growing up in Ottawa, I've seen the team go from an expansion team nightmare to one of the premier organizations in the game. They have fallen on hard times recently but my favorite moment as a Sens fan came in the 2007 playoff when Alfie scored on Ryan Miller to send Ottawa to the Cup! When Ottawa went to the Cup the city went in to a frenzy and is something I'll never forget. The current rebuild in Ottawa will take It's toll on the fans, however I know we will be celebrating another cup run in the future.