Bridges focusing on being more aggressive for men's basketball
Miles Bridges is the beaming star for the men’s basketball squad. You ask beat reporters, you ask fans, the first name that comes out of most of their mouths regarding MSU basketball right now is “Miles Bridges.”
Bridges 6-foot-7, 225 pound body is a frame which could transition into the NBA without any problems.
However, he didn’t use his body much against No. 1 Duke on Tuesday night, shooting 10 of his 15 shots from three-point land.
“I definitely could’ve been way more aggressive,” Bridges said after practice on Thursday. “I could of got more rebounds, more assists to my teammates and play better defense all-around.”
Not being aggressive isn’t the only thing Bridges didn’t do in the Champions Classic against the Blue Devils, as he also turned the ball over five times, accounting just under a third of the Spartans overall turnovers in the contest.
For Bridges, he said the turnovers were also the result of also not being aggressive enough.
“I feel like when I’m aggressive, I have less turnovers and when I’m passing, I start to make bad decisions,” Bridges said.
Bridges wasn’t the only one creating turnovers, guard Cassius Winston also had five turnovers while forward Jaren Jackson Jr. had four. Most of this was caused by the 2-3 zone Duke played that scrambled up the Spartan offense, causing irate passes and ultimately turnovers.
“We were just thinking too much and we weren’t moving the ball around like we’re supposed to, we didn’t have hard cuts into the middle,” Bridges said. “Every time we got the ball to the middle, we scored, then something good happened.”
Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn Jr. said if they see the 2-3 zone again, the key to expose it is spacing, which allows you to get the ball into the middle and drive to the basket, or make passes to the paint or perimeter.
“We didn’t do a very good job that, but today, we worked it into practice and we did a lot better job of that today,” Nairn Jr. said. “But also, we penetrated the gaps, and I thought we did a good job that today.”
But what did Bridges work on during practice this week? That’s right, playing overall more aggressively.
“I have to be aggressive first, then I’ll start getting my teammates involved and like I said, making good decisions will follow after that,” Bridges said. “I was just disappointed in myself that I didn’t get to the boards a lot, didn’t be aggressive in the first half and then I didn’t do the things I needed to do help my team win.”
When Bridges gets more physical and starts to drive to the basket, he’s able to get to the free throw line and open up the offense to his teammates.
The need to be more physical and focus on rebounds in practice on Thursday stems from a lack of crashing the boards against Duke, being outrebounded by the Blue Devils, 46-34.
“We should of killed the boards, because in a zone it’s harder to rebound in,” Izzo said after practice on Thursday.
All of this practice is leading up to a matchup with the Stony Brook Seawolves, a game Izzo isn’t taking lightly at all, and stretch against some of the top ranked teams in the country in the PK80 over Thanksgiving break.
“I think out there, we’re going to play two or three good teams … and then come back and play Notre Dame,” Izzo said. “The next five games, we’re going to have our hands full. It’s going to be brutal.”