MSU Drops Kangaroos (Notes)
This video adequately summarizes the Spartans’ win against UMKC on Monday.
Also, “The only thing better than seeing a walk-on play is seeing one score. Keenan Wetzel with his first points as a Spartan” does a pretty nice job as well.
A few quick points from the 89-54 victory:
— “There’s no black holes on this team,” Izzo on the unselfishness of this team. With 25 assists (on 35 baskets) against the Roos, it is no wonder the feel around this team is different — they are a REAL team. For MSU fans, this is a most welcome sight after enduring last year’s level of selfishness and inflated egos.
The most encouraging thing about the high number of assists is there are seven players in their first year on the roster (and only Alex Gauna and Russell Byrd are redshirt freshman). So, this group has not been playing together for very long, but already understand the importance of working together and are reflecting that unselfish attitude throughout the season thus far.
— Gauna saw 11 minutes of playing time and tied a career high with eight points. He would have eclipsed that number, but shot 2-of-8 from the free-throw line. He was aggressive in the post and made some good moves to finish, but as Tom Izzo noted in the postgame press conference, Gauna has to learn to guard better to play and contribute.
— Byrd looked a little bit more comfortable on defense and seemed to read the opposing offense better — this could be attributed to the quality of the opponent, though. The most impressive thing I found was how Byrd looked for his shot, which, at times, he has looked incredibly hesitant to do. I think concerns linger for me, mostly around the fact he currently reminds me a hybrid of Austin Thornton and Isaiah Dahlman — but I am convinced the true Russell Byrd has yet to be seen.
— Seemingly lost in the shuffle of the entire roster seeing the floor, and the solid performances all around, Brandon Wood was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field, including 4-of-4 from three. He and Keith Appling have been working well together offensively.
— Appling is starting to show comfort at the point and running the offense, opposed to having the offense run to him. He had eight assists and only two turnovers — a ratio that is becoming more constant for him and that is a very good sign moving forward.
— Branden Dawson. Holy smokes. He had three incredible, emphatic dunks. What a stud he is becoming quickly. He dropped a career-high 16 points, and continued to show improvement defensively.
Great postgame quote from Dawson about the past two games and his 29 total points, etc:
“The difference in the last two games for me is staying focused on the defensive end,” Dawson said. “I’ve just been relaxed and calm, letting the game come to me.”
— Don’t know if anyone else caught this, but Izzo definitely scolded Wetzel after the game for taking that three.
The Spartans have a final tune-up against Lehigh on Thursday before Indiana comes to East Lansing on Wednesday, Dec. 28, to open Big Ten play. That matchup will be an exciting start to Big Ten play, and a very good barometer of where this team stands and how far it has come since the first two games against UNC and Duke.
Izzo’s postgame comments
Posted on December 20, 2011, in Basketball and tagged Alex Gauna, Austin Thornton, Branden Dawson, Brandon Wood, Derrick Nix, Isaiah Dahlman, Jerel Worthy, Keenan Wetzel, Keith Appling, Russell Byrd, Tom Izzo. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.