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Freshman Green, Roe step up in pivotal stretch

March 22, 2009

With nine minutes left and the season hanging in the balance, the MSU men’s basketball could have run its offense through a number of players. There was sophomore guard Kalin Lucas, the Big Ten Player of the Year who has been MSU’s Mr. Clutch throughout the season.

There was junior forward Raymar Morgan, who despite his struggles on Sunday, is MSU’s most versatile offensive weapon.

There even was senior guard Travis Walton, who sometime in the last 48 hours had channeled the shooting stroke of Morris Peterson circa 2000.

Instead, MSU ran its offense through freshmen forwards Delvon Roe and Draymond Green. As has been the case for much of the season, the duo didn’t disappoint.

Roe and Green combined to score eight straight points for the Spartans over a three-minute stretch that saw MSU turn a 60-59 deficit into a 67-66 lead. MSU went on to defeat Southern Cal 74-69 to advance to the Sweet 16.

“We just played within the system, did what we were needed to do at that moment,” Green said.

“We just needed to rebound, we were doing pretty well on the inside so they just kept on coming inside to us.”

Despite Roe and Green each struggling with free throws all season, the charity stripe is where the two did the bulk of their damage.

They weren’t perfect, hitting just six of the 10 attempts, but considering the pressure they were under, Suton said they did more than enough to prove their mettle.

“Delvon and Day-Day did a great job of making some big free throws down the stretch,” Suton said.

Because of USC’s tough defense, Roe said he and Green knew they would have to step up and provide some offense against the Trojans.

“We knew when we got in that game that we would have to contribute right away,” Roe said.

Rematch

When they travel to Indianapolis on Friday for the Sweet 16, the Spartans will have a familiar foe awaiting their arrival.

MSU already played Kansas earlier this season, defeating the Jayhawks 75-62 on Jan. 10 at Breslin Center.

Although MSU left the first meeting between the teams with a decisive victory, MSU head coach Tom Izzo knows his squad will be facing a different Kansas team.

“I don’t know if we were as good then, I don’t think they were as good then,” Izzo said. “(Kansas head coach Bill Self) has done a very good job with his team, too, considering how much he lost.”

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