Goins, Jackson show long range in MSU's balanced win against Terps
Tom Izzo loves when his team is unselfish, but he never imagined forward Kenny Goins hitting a shot from behind the arc.
Let alone two.
Goins made two 3-pointers in three attempts in MSU’s 91-61 win against Maryland on Thursday — the first two converted in college by the redshirt junior.
Both were critical early in the game. One equalized a 3-pointer from Maryland guard Kevin Huerter with 15:03 in the first half, and another came moments later to give the Spartans the lead for good at 20-19.
But were the plays drawn up by Izzo?
“No, not a chance,” Goins, the 6-foot-7 product from Warren Mott, said with a smirk. “We’ve got good passers, guys found me, and I doubt the scouting report said close out on him as a 3-point shooter, so I found the ball and was wide open.”
Goins finished with a season-high eight points. He also added five rebounds, an assist and two of MSU’s nine blocks.
“He wasn’t shooting well (in practice) and I said, you spend more time in here, you can shoot 3s because I chewed him out for shooting a 3 a week ago,” Izzo said. “And I was glad that he just stuck it in my face to be honest with you.”
MSU assisted on 30 of its 32 field goals and had 10 of its 12 players in the game scored at least once. If Goins can shoot it from beyond the arc consistently, Izzo said he thinks it adds another layer to an already deep offense.
“We had a lot of interchangeable parts, which I think is going to be good for this team when we face different teams that we’re going to have to play,” Izzo said.
Goins helped MSU score 27 points off the bench. When role players like Goins start to get hot, other players want to get in the mix.
“When they’re hitting (shots) you want to hit them because you want to be a part of it,” freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. said. “You want to be a part of that celebration when the other team calls a timeout and the whole bench gets up. It definitely is contagious because you get your teammates cheering you on, you get the momentum of the game and when you’re hitting like that they can’t stop you.”
Jackson led all Spartans with five 3-pointers and finished with 15 points, all from behind the arc. The 6-foot-11 former McDonald’s All-American made his first two shots in the first three minutes of the game, but sat the rest of the first half after committing two fouls within the first five minutes.
Jackson picked up where he left off in the second half and finished with five threes on six attempts from the field and three fouls through 16 minutes.
“It was just kind of whatever the defense gives me, but for the most part I have been working constantly on my (3-point shooting) the last two weeks — more on my mechanics,” Jackson said. “I was starting from ground zero, just because I wasn’t liking how I was shooting before.”
He also led the team with three blocks. Izzo said he thinks the progress Jackson has made offensively can surely give him a larger role going forward.
“I’m starting to see him coming, you know? I thought he did a great job,” Izzo said. “You know we’ve been relying on him to play defense and I think I’ve done a poor job of maybe spending the time with him to talk to him about what I think he can do offensively.”