After a painful 2010-11 season, the Michigan State basketball team has already bounced back in the eyes of Spartan fans. Last year the Spartans finished 19-15. This year, after only 24 games, the Spartans have matched last year’s win total at 19-5.
The latest victory came against bottom-feeder Penn State on Wednesday.
It was a tough start to watch as both teams struggled to score points in the first 10 minutes. Penn State had zero points until they finally scored a basket at the 12:17 mark.
Senior forward Draymond Green did his best not to let his team fall in a trap game. The Saginaw native scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Green has a chance at the all-time rebounding record at Michigan State. He trails only Antonio Smith, Johnny Green and Greg Kelser for the record.
Green will need to play in 15 more games and average 10.7 rebounds during that stretch to grab the record.
Freshman Branden Dawson continued his superb play, scoring 12 points. It’s his fifth straight double-digit scoring effort. For Dawson, his game starts on the defensive end where he has made huge strides the last few weeks after being burnt a few times.
Center Adreian Payne scored a career-high 12 points. The Spartans will need him and Derrick Nix to play extremely well against Jared Sullinger if the Spartans want to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes on Feb. 11.
In a classic Izzo-type quote, the coach was asked how his team performed during the game.
“I thought we were bad, good, bad, good, bad, good, good,” Tom Izzo said.
The Spartans will need sophomore Keith Appling to break out of his mini slump against Ohio State. Appling has struggled the past few games to find his jump shot. If he can find it against No. 3 Ohio State, the Spartans could find themselves in first place in the Big Ten. If not, the Spartans will slide back into the pack, and Ohio State will have the Big Ten title in its focus.