College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, November 15, 2013
After Michigan State topped #1 Kentucky on Tuesday night, 78-74, there was little doubt that the Spartans would be ranked number one in the next poll, due out on Monday, November 18.
One little problem: the Spartans had a Friday night home game against the Columbia Lions, and, while they were expected to easily defeat the pushovers from the Ivy League, they still had to go out onto the court and play the game... you know, pass the ball, put ball into hoop, rebound, al that stuff.
After twenty minutes of an uninspired first half, the Spartans found themselves on the short end of a 26-22 score, and that, after taking an immediate, 9-0, lead in the first four minutes. For the next 16 minutes of the first half, Michagan State was outscored 26-13.
Coach Tom Izzo was obviously unpleased with the effort, but things went better for the Spartans in the second twenty minutes. Led by senior forward Adreian Payne, who scored 17 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, the Spartans - still a little sluggish - finally tied the score at 44-all midway through the second half and outscored the Lions 18-9 down the stretch for a not-so-magnificent, 62-53, victory.
In addition to his 26 points, Payne snatched 11 rebounds, made two steals and blocked three shots in 33 minutes of floor time. Only three Spartans were in double figures, and, they were surprisingly out-rebounded by Columbia, 31-27. The Spartans made no three-pointers (0-for-7), but caused 17 Lion turnovers while only coughing up the ball 11 times themselves. The game was really won on the foul line, where Michigan State was 22-for-30, as opposed to Columbia's paltry 8-for-11.
Next up for the 3-0, soon-to-be=#1 Spartans is another home game, Monday night against the Portland Pilots. That one is not supposed to be much of a problem either.