The No. 9 Michigan State men’s basketball team dropped their second game of the season by a score of 82-78 Tuesday night in overtime thriller at Louisville. The Spartans are in the midst of a difficult six-game slate in which they have already played UCLA, No. 17 Texas and Louisville and are set to face Rutgers later in the week and then No. 14 Iowa and Florida next week.
Over the first three games of the slate mentioned above, there are some fairly notable things to take note of, especially in the Spartans' most recent loss.
Here are three quick takeaways from MSU's loss to Louisville.
First half struggles
Both of MSU’s losses have something in common — a sub-40 percent shooting clip in the first half. Earlier in the month when the Spartans dropped their season-opener to No. 2 Kansas, they went 9-for-26 (34.6 percent) from the floor. The Spartans didn’t do much better Tuesday night, going 9-for-23 (39.1 percent).
Oddly enough, in both games the Spartans shot better from behind the arc than inside of it, shooting 44.4 percent from 3-point range in the first half in both games. However, they shot 32.3 percent on 2-point field goals.
The Spartans lost both games by single digits. If MSU came out of the gate in both losses converting on higher percentage of its shots, we could be looking at an undefeated team right now.
Turnovers still a problem
The Spartans turned the ball over 17 times against Louisville. This is the fourth time this season they’ve had had 17 or more turnovers in a game.
Surprisingly, Louisville scored just four points off turnovers in the game, so the damage was fairly minimal, however, it has come back to bite MSU already this season.
Looking back on their matchup against Kansas, the Jayhawks scored 11 points off 18 Spartan turnovers. The Spartans are 2-2 this season when turning the ball over 16 or more times.
Kenny Goins dominating the glass
With former MSU forwards Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson now in the NBA, the Spartans’ rebounding ability was a little uncertain heading into the season. But forward Kenny Goins has answered any questions thus far.
His 17-rebound performance against Louisville was a career-high for the junior, and the second time he’s broke his personal rebounding record this season, as he surpassed his previous career-high (13 rebounds) with a 15-rebound outing against Louisiana-Monroe two weeks ago.
It also gives him four double-digit rebound games through the Spartans' first seven games of the season. Goins is now averaging 10.1 rebounds per game, which is good for third best in the Big Ten.