Sunday, December 5, 2021

Spartans look for road win

January 18, 2002
Freshman guard Kelvin Torbert drives past Arizona guard Salim Stoudamire during a win last month over Arizona at the Breslin Center. —

The MSU men’s basketball team achieved one of its goals Wednesday night, and will look for another Saturday at Penn State.

After notching its first Big Ten win Wednesday, the Spartans (10-7 overall, 1-3 Big Ten) will look for their first road victory at 12:17 p.m. Saturday at Penn State (5-10, 1-3).

MSU head coach Tom Izzo pushed the right buttons before the Purdue game, and hopefully that will translate to this weekend, junior forward Al Anagonye said.

“Today was about playing mad,” Anagonye said after Wednesday’s game. “You have to give credit to coach Izzo. He definitely knows what to say to the fellas and knows how to get people going.

“Now we just need a little more out of some people to get others going.”

One player who Izzo got going Wednesday night was freshman guard Kelvin Torbert, who set a career high with 18 points.

“We know what kind of player K.T. is,” Anagonye said. “The good thing about (Wednesday) is K.T. just showed a little to the world. He’s bringing it more and more, and we expect him to get better for the Penn State game.”

Torbert scored the majority of his points in the post, an area Anagonye gave him pointers.

“I’ve shown him the inside-out, the spin,” Anagonye said. “But he’s taken it to another level because I guess he can jump higher than me a little bit, just a little bit.”

Increased minutes from junior forward Adam Ballinger, who returned from the injured list Saturday against Wisconsin, also gave MSU a boost Wednesday.

Ballinger’s return took pressure off sophomore forward Adam Wolfe, who requested to be taken out of the starting lineup before the Wisconsin game.

“I thought I played OK,” Wolfe said. “I don’t know if I’m completely happy with how I played off the bench. I thought I brought a little more life, a little more spark. I think Adam Ballinger did as well.

“On defense Ballinger helps you out with your man, on offense he’s another player that can shoot the ball. He’s a really big part of our team and we miss him when he’s not playing.”

The biggest plus from Wednesday’s win is it gives the Spartans momentum as they try to get their first road win, freshman guard Alan Anderson said.

“Getting that first win in the Big Ten and going to someone else’s home and trying to get a win, that’s a big thing,” Anderson said.

But the Spartans still have a ways to go, Anagonye said.

“We’re just like any team trying to dig our way up,” Anagonye said. “We still have a way to go, still have to climb.

“Tomorrow we have to get ready for Penn State because I know Penn State is getting ready for us.”

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