Unleash the Payne: Spartans handle OSU
People think U of M hates Ohio State, I submit to you Adreian Payne hates the Buckeyes even more — at least he plays like it.
In 2010, Payne had his season-high 10 points at Value City Arena against the No. 3 Buckeyes.
Almost exactly a year later at the same place, against a team ranked third yet again, Payne went off.
He hit shots falling away from the basket. He slammed home teammates misses. He did just about everything.
And when the game was done, Payne had a career-high 15 points and he did not miss a shot from the field.
“I don’t know if it’s because he’s from Ohio or him and Jared played together in AAU ball, but Adreian did play,” Tom Izzo said. “As Day-Day (Draymond Green) said after, that was his best game maybe his whole career if you look at all the things he did and the big shot he hit with his left hand late, and the (three) offensive rebounds.”
Maybe the best game of his career? No. It was without a doubt the best game of his career.
Sure, he had four fouls, but who really cares now. He missed a free throw? Oh well.
Those things didn’t define the game.
Payne led the charge against the Buckeyes and his former AAU teammate Jared Sullinger, getting the best of him and getting the win for the Spartans against the third-ranked team in the country — tied for the highest-ranked Big Ten team Michigan State has ever beaten on the road.
With the win, the Spartans move into a first-place tie in the Big Ten with the Buckeyes.
MSU held Ohio State, the 10th-best shooting team in the nation, to 26.4 percent shooting and just 2-for-15 from 3-point range.
They forced Ohio State’s star Sullinger into 10 turnovers (part of his triple double of 17 points, 16 rebounds and 10 turnovers).
Austin Thornton played a career-high 31 minutes because he buckled down defensively. Only other game he has played 30 or more? At Wisconsin earlier this season.
Brandon Wood also played 31 minutes, mostly because of his defensive play as well. Wood also pulled down seven rebounds — which has been a big surprise about his game since he came to Michigan State.
Thornton and Wood also hit a big 3-pointer each in the first half.
Branden Dawson, despite only having three points, had eight rebounds — five of which were offensive.
Keith Appling, despite his seven turnovers and no assists, played the game he had to in handling the ball. He slashed to the hoop and he got out in transition to get points. He totaled 14 points and he drove the team all through the game.
It was another classic, hard-nosed team effort from a group that keeps finding a way to win and makes the plays to get there, but at the end of it all, it all comes back to the tallest man on the court: Payne.
The former five-star recruit played like it, at last, and hopefully it’s the first of many big performances from him.
“Great team effort on the defensive end and on the boards! Payne showed us what he can do now we need to see it all the time!” tweeted MSU assistant coach Dwayne Stephens.