Win over U-M sets up same old song and dance
Overcoming its three-game losing streak with a win against University of Michigan, MSU men’s basketball (13-9, 5-4 Big Ten) will be on the road the next game against Nebraska (10-11, 4-5 Big Ten). Head coach Tom Izzo and the rest of the team will have to hope that Aerosmith’s "Same old Song and Dance" isn’t being played through the speakers at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb.
In the MSU win against U-M, freshman guard Cassius Winston led the Spartans with 16 points, freshman forward Miles Bridges notched his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 15 and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Looking at the Spartans’ record in games not played at the Breslin Center, including both away and neutral site games, MSU is just 3-7. In conference play, that number is 1-3.
The narrative this season has been the lack of focus and energy brought by this young team. Without the roars and cheering of the Izzone and remainder of the crowd, MSU has played flat and sloppy.
The team's only true road win came with a double-digit comeback win against Minnesota. In that game, senior guard Alvin Ellis III lifted the Spartans in overtime on his way to score 20 points and grabbing six rebounds.
“We know what we can do,” Ellis said following the win over U-M. “We know that we can do it. We just need to put our mind to it and do it. We need to be physically and mentally locked in and not make any mistakes.”
A cause of MSU men’s basketball poor play on the road has come in their first half outputs.
In an 82-75 loss at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., MSU took cover as the Hoosiers shot and made 3-pointer after 3-pointer, making their first six. Going into the second half down 14 points, MSU wasn’t able to spark the same magic against Indiana as they did against Minnesota. Indiana's James Blackmon Jr. scored 33 points.
Against Ohio State University, MSU started red hot, shooting 6-for-6. However, questionable substitutions from Izzo left the offense stagnant. Ohio State would go on an 11-0 run to take the lead. Another 11-0 run in the first half put the Buckeyes up seven points. In the second half, Ohio State hit big threes on its way to the Buckeyes' first Big Ten victory of the season.
“We definitely have to bring it on the road,” Winston said. “We have to focus on that. We have to bring the energy from the jump once the game starts.”
MSU men’s basketball will play its next two games on the road, Nebraska and U-M. Later this season they will travel to Purdue, Illinois and Maryland.
“We just have to keep doing the things we have to do,” Bridges said. “We have to get defensive rebounds and focus for 40 minutes. Those are our only focuses.”
In Lincoln, Neb., the Spartans and Cornhuskers will tipoff at 7 p.m. on ESPN this Thursday.